American Apparel: Starting a Movement in Fashion

Vertically integrated, exceptionally efficient and extremely popular, American Apparel (AA) and its sweatshop-free clothing line is the new face of apparel production.

Founded by Senior Partner Dov Charney, American Apparel is a garment company committed to producing quality products while maintaining a healthy environment for its workers, maximizing recycling, and producing all products on American soil. The only garment company of it’s size that doesn’t rely on outsourcing, everything is produced in the factory in downtown L.A.

The largest garment factory in the United States, as a company that mass-produces almost 250,000 t-shirts a day, the business model of American Apparel is almost surreal. Youth driven and completely vertically integrated, every part of production occurs in the 800,000 square-foot L.A. factory, excluding dying which occurs in local dying houses.

Combined with incredible efficiency of production, American Apparel’s workers are treated with the utmost care. Paid between $14 and $15 dollars an hour, every AA worker has access to an ATM card, free health clinic referrals, dental insurance at $1 per week, and a free, regular on-site massage if necessary. Unlike overseas counter parts, American Apparel is not a sweatshop but instead a healthy and environmentally safe atmosphere where workers are treated as people and not just laborers. As added care, English classes are offered to any workers whose first language is not English in addition to over 60 hours of training a year to make sure that every worker has the best in training.

As American Apparel’s mission statement says, “We are trying to rediscover the essence of classic products like the basic t-shirt, once an icon of Western culture and freedom. Our goal is to make garments that people love to wear without having to rely on cheap labor.” It is exactly this goal that American Apparel is accomplishing with more speed everyday. Listed as the fastest growing company for consumer apparel in the U.S., AA reaped more profits than both Gildan and Fruit of the Loom in 2001, brands that used to be America’s classics.

Although American Apparel’s products are slightly more pricey than their competitors, stretch baby rib or loop terry cotton fabrics are worth the few extra bucks. Nevermind that American Apparel has over 40 different colors to choose from and a variety of styles of apparel, ranging from tees to panties for women, boxers for men, and one piece jammers for babies.

If that isn’t enough to convince you that AA is the future of efficient business, the environmentally addicted don’t have to fret because American Apparel has debuted the Sustainable Edition, a line of apparel made with 100% USDA Certified Organic Cotton in lieu of directing attention to the use of pesticides during cotton cultivation. This new line of garments offers the six most popular consumer styles and blatantly promotes the political movement that American Apparel is subtly supporting.

Simply stated, “American Apparel is striving to pioneer a political movement of human rights.” Join American Apparel’s movement for better business, better quality products, and equality of all workers, by supporting the product. Who doesn’t like a good cotton tee anyways?

Joanna Davila can be contacted at j.davila1@umiami.edu.

American Apparel
American Apparel is the largest stocked T-Shirt company is the United States.
Retailers around the world include stores in L.A., Montreal, New York, Toronto, Portland, London, Frankfurt, and Berlin. To our excitement, American Apparel will be sharing the softest cotton with Miami, opening a location in Lincoln Road.

720 Lincoln Rd.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Hours to be announced!

September 30, 2004


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.