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La Compania Rebelde: Understanding American Apparel
August 22, 2006 11:45 AM   Subscribe

La Compania Rebelde: Understanding American Apparel A long and detailed look at American Apparel. [via mefi projects]
posted by chunking express (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
(Can the admins add a period after the link title, please.)
posted by chunking express at 11:49 AM on August 22, 2006


Dov Charney is kind of a scumbag. Of course there's the masterbating at work, nudity at work, having sex with his employees, etc.....

But I know someone who, in a meeting with him to do business was told, by Charney, "pick out any one of my Mexicans. You can go fuck her."

He's the lowest form of life, no matter what kind of marketing he does about being socially conscious.
posted by MythMaker at 12:04 PM on August 22, 2006


All you need to know:

Guy clothes: ridiculously overpriced, poor quality, shoddy materials, lousy, horrible selection.

Girl clothes: big selection, good materials, awesome clothes for hanging around the house in.
posted by redteam at 12:04 PM on August 22, 2006


Interesting piece. Thanks, ce.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:05 PM on August 22, 2006


blazecock, I just copied it over from MefiProjects. It wasn't much work to find. It's a really facinating article. I also think Charney is a dirty creep.

Now magazine in Toronto covered their advertising a while ago.
posted by chunking express at 12:16 PM on August 22, 2006


Yes, an interesting post chunking express.

This Dov Charney character sounds like a raging narcissist.

The Larry Flynt of the shmata biz. His behavior reminds me of the Kevin Spacey character in Swimming with Sharks.

In light of the soft-corn porn ads with teens, I feel a bit anxious about the American Apparel ads for really little kids' clothes.

Holding a corporate meeting in his underwear. An ad for American Apparel's underwear with an image of the CEO exposed (nsfw).

I like the Social Responsibility Profile on the KnowMore site about different companies' ratings of their corporate activities in terms of ethical practices etc.
posted by nickyskye at 12:18 PM on August 22, 2006


Yup. Sounds like your typical American corporation.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 12:38 PM on August 22, 2006


I used to chuckle about the full-page ads being national postings of Charney's sexual spoils, but they've been hitting me as disturbing (probably coinciding with the increasingly provocative nature of the garments) lately.

What seems fatalistic to match Charney's narcissism is that he seems to be driving the seedier side further and further even while reportage and backlash is on the rise.
posted by pokermonk at 12:42 PM on August 22, 2006


i_am_a_Jedi writes "Sounds like your typical American corporation."

Are you fucking kidding me? The CEO-in-his-underware-and-with-his-cock-out-in-a-print-ad stuff is typical? How about the CEO personally berating a reporter over the phone? That would never happen in a big ol' company with a PR department and layers of lawyers. This shit is downright bizarre.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:43 PM on August 22, 2006


I think his business plan and marketing is genius. He's a complete and utter perv. So pervy I am genuinely shocked he was able to get this far in the corporate world. Anyone know the startup story? Did he have rich parents who helped him out at the beginning? I mean I really am going to go out on a limb and say that a person with even the most basic shred of common sense doesn't masterbate in front of a reporter doing an article about you.
posted by geoff. at 12:57 PM on August 22, 2006


yeah but their ads are hot.... just sayin...
posted by jcruelty at 1:03 PM on August 22, 2006


Seems like a more lurid version of Coors, with the owners having reps for being tools while the workers are mostly being treated well.

If they clean up their supposed sexaul antics, then next comes the Starbucks phase, where no matter how responsibly they behave they're targetted by people whining for more.
posted by NortonDC at 1:06 PM on August 22, 2006


This is great. Clamor Magazine is publishing a similar (though much shorter) article on American Apparel in their upcoming issue (you can see a PDF of it here).
posted by genocideisnews at 1:42 PM on August 22, 2006


Wasn't there a similar expose of Abercrombie & Fitch guy, not too long ago?

You have to wonder how such freaks get ahead.
posted by canine epigram at 1:49 PM on August 22, 2006


garments gone wild!
posted by kaytwo at 2:05 PM on August 22, 2006


"Anyone know the startup story? Did he have rich parents who helped him out at the beginning? I mean I really am going to go out on a limb and say that a person with even the most basic shred of common sense doesn't masterbate in front of a reporter doing an article about you."

His parents definately had money. He started his business out of a dorm room at Tufts University, and I believe his parents wrote him a check when he left school to get things rolling... don't ask me which of the hundred articles about him I read this in in the course of my research though...

Of course, this added a bit of irony to him accusing us of being a "priveleged student organization" in that first screaming rant (I grew up lower middle class and dropped out of school)... but far be it from me to deprive a millionaire of his hissy fit :)
posted by bernard@knowmore at 2:08 PM on August 22, 2006


p.s. the audio of American Apparel's CEO screaming at me can be heard on the intro to our first podcast.
posted by bernard@knowmore at 2:53 PM on August 22, 2006


Hope it's ok if I express my respect here for the work you've been doing Bernard. KnowMore offers an important and useful service. My sincere thanks.

From what I know about pathological narcissists and serial bullies, Charney's behavior is classic: he doesn't respect people's boundaries, sexual or otherwise, feels entitled to do or say whatever, whenever, has a lot of rage and derives narcissistic supply (gratification from receiving attention) from negative press as much as positive press.

He seems to have some borderline and histrionic personality disorder traits with his exhibitionism.

Most often these people succeed, in spite of their deranged megalomania but often crash and burn too, doing a financial roller coaster. Lots of examples of this in the corporate or entrepreneurial worlds.
posted by nickyskye at 7:58 PM on August 22, 2006


canine epigram, here is the profile of the A&F founder that you were thinking of.

As for American Apparel, I've gone into their Broadway store a couple of times to see what all the fuss was about, but after reading more on the company, I just decided that I couldn't, in good conscience, buy their products.
posted by anjamu at 9:01 PM on August 22, 2006


AA threatens Clamor about the article

I'm still withholding judgement on all this until I know some more. He does sound like a sleazebag, but considering that 90% of all other clothing manufacturers are sweatshop labor in other countries where things happen that are much worse than what he's done.
posted by destro at 10:00 PM on August 22, 2006


New Yorker story about Charney from 2000.
posted by maryh at 11:41 PM on August 22, 2006


If you look around online long enough, you'll find plenty of retailers that sell clothing that is made in the US and Canada. It's not that much more expensive than what you'll find on the shelves at Wal-Mart.

Unfortunately, for us Americans, most mass-market clothing found here is made in the Far East, mainly China, India, the Philippines and Indonesia. I'm envious of Europeans, whose mass-market crap is often made in Spain and Portugal.
posted by elmwood at 5:45 AM on August 23, 2006


If you look around online long enough, you'll find plenty of retailers that sell clothing that is made in the US and Canada. It's not that much more expensive than what you'll find on the shelves at Wal-Mart.

Maybe not on the shelves. An AA Tshirt is like $7 in bulk. A Hanes Beefy T is $4 and you can get tshirts for like $1.50 in bulk if you want.
posted by delmoi at 4:00 AM on August 25, 2006


By the way, have any of you guys read the part about UNITE at the begining of the article? They sound far, far worse then anything I'd ever read about Dov Charney
posted by delmoi at 4:02 AM on August 25, 2006


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