American Apparel returns to L.A. with the opening of a new store on Melrose Avenue. In fact, the new location is part of an old location where a previous store used to stand, according to Garry Bell, VP of Corporate Marketing and Communications at American Apparel parent Gildan Activewear Inc.
The “new” store will be the first American Apparel opened by Gildan since the Canadian firm purchased the retailer out of bankruptcy in 2017. Gildan, at the time of the purchase, had promised it would make all efforts to preserve the best of the brand, including some U.S. manufacturing of its clothes. Re-opening in L.A. (where the brand was headquartered under former CEO and Founder Dov Charney) seems to be a big step in the direction of attempting to preserve the brand’s legacy.
Charney often praised L.A. as a multicultural, artistic and entrepreneurial city that was core to the brand.
The CEO was ousted after a high-profile series of scandals and fights with the board, and the company went on to suffer back-to-back bankruptcies. Charney himself tried to buy back the American Apparel brand but was unsuccessful. He went on to found a new firm: Los Angeles Apparel, which was founded very much in the image of the old one, and started out in wholesale. The company has since moved to consumer sales online.
American Apparel, despite competition from its founder, seems to be falling into a workable groove under Gildan.
“We quickly integrated the brand into our existing printwear business and then launched the U.S.-focused online store at www.americanapparel.com in August 2017,” Bell told Retail Dive in an email last week. “This [eCommerce] site has done well, growing every month, and gave us the confidence to extend the reach of this site into 200+ countries a couple of weeks ago.”
The new flagship could be just the beginning, though Gildan is moving slowly.
“We continue to be excited about the prospects for this brand and will carefully evaluate the results from this initial flagship store to determine the best path forward for the brand,” Bell said.