Newspaper article The Canadian Press

American Apparel Is Staging a Comeback with a Few Twists and a Canadian Owner

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

American Apparel Is Staging a Comeback with a Few Twists and a Canadian Owner

Article excerpt

American Apparel is staging a comeback

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TORONTO - One of America's most controversial clothing brands is making a comeback, but ditching some of its signature traits.

American Apparel will return to the Canadian market with an online store on Nov 1., a year after its bankruptcy and closure.

This time the brand will be Canadian-owned and for now, won't have any physical stores in the country, said American Apparel's brand marketing director Sabina Weber, who indicated the company was taking a careful approach to its relaunch as it measured how its customers have changed.

"It is kind of like putting yourself back out in the dating world. You don't know if someone will be interested or not," she said. "We know Canada is a huge market for us. They have always been so supportive of the brand."

American Apparel was founded in 1989 with a "Made in America" ethos and a proclivity for using its clothing to champion immigration, LGBTQ rights and diversity -- values that are sticking around. It was known for selling basics, including its popular unisex hoodies, bodysuits, tights and leggings, but caught criticism with its provocative advertising that often featured scantily clad women in suggestive poses.

The comeback is being staged in the Me Too era, where companies across the globe have faced an onslaught of sexual misconduct allegations similar to those that dogged American Apparel founder Dov Charney for years.

Montreal-born Charney was ousted from his president-CEO role in 2014 amid "an investigation into alleged misconduct" and a series of lawsuits alleging his misbehaviour. He has denied many of the allegations, but admitted to having sexual relations with some employees, though he said they were consensual. He has not rejoined the brand, American Apparel confirmed.

Me Too and the conversations around misconduct and sexualized advertising that marred the company in the past are why American Apparel is being careful about its portrayal of women and unabashed in its support of diversity, Weber said. …

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