American Apparel is Back in Business with a Focus on Inclusivity

Hot on the heels of a successful relaunch south of the border, the brand announced its plans for international e-commerce expansion earlier this year, setting its sights on Canada.

It was a sad day back in early 2017, when iconic fashion brand American Apparel went bankrupt and announced it would shut down its stores. After all, it had become an effortless staple for basics, weekend wear, and costume parties.

Hot on the heels of a successful relaunch south of the border, the brand announced its plans for international e-commerce expansion earlier this year, setting its sights on Canada, home of its parent company Gildan Activewear Inc. (Gildan purchased American Apparel in 2016). Unbeknownst to some lovers of the brand, Canada is amongst the 200 countries that American Apparel will now ship to. So, you can easily freshen up your beloved basics with just a few clicks (good for your wardrobe; dangerous for your wallet).

The “new” American Apparel stays true to its tradition of classic, timeless fashion styles, but is more focused on body positivity and diversity than ever before, featuring a more inclusive range of sizes and fits. The global relaunch included the “Back to Basics” campaign, which was a fresh initiative for SS18. It featured real people who represent a diversity of body types, ages, and ethnicities but share a playful, confident, and honest spirit. The focus of this collection is on staple silhouettes.

Naturally, American Apparel still features core basics, along with all-time fan favourites like the iconic disco pants, bodysuits, metallic leggings, unisex hoodies, and fisherman pullovers. The brand also recently launched its first-ever outerwear collection for fall 2018, which features staples like a trench coat, a reversible bomber, a raincoat, fleece, and puffer jacket. Best of all, the pieces are available at more affordable prices.

Most recently, American Apparel sought out musician, actor, activist, and successful albino model Shaun Ross to curate a capsule collection, ‘NUDE,’ with a central theme of inclusivity and body positivity. The accompanying campaign features a limited edition selection of brown, white, and nude tees that are designed to highlight the beauty of diverse skin types. The tees reflect abstract images of models with what have been historically referred to as “imperfections”: things like stretch marks, freckles, and vitiligo.

Refreshingly, the recent campaigns are less sexual in nature than before; the company has found itself in hot water over its racier ads in the past and has been called out for sexualizing extremely young-looking models. Though the road has been a rocky one for the brand, from the sexual harassment allegations former CEO Dov Charney, to rapidly declining sales, things are looking as positive for the brand as its new messaging is.

American Apparel will have one bricks and mortar shop, located on Melrose in Los Angeles, the place where the once thriving brand rose to success. But hopes for locations returning to Yonge Street or Queen West, sadly, aren’t likely.  

Featured image: Instagram/ @americanapparel