American Apparel Returns to the U.K. With a Focus on Body Positivity
American Apparel is back in the U.K. after its tumultuous period of rebranding and acquisition by Gildan Activewear. The reintroduced American Apparel will reportedly focus on body positivity and diversity, according to Vogue.
After closing 13 of its stores across the U.K. in 2016, American Apparel will return on April 23, albeit online only.
The product range will feature more inclusive sizing as well as new price points but loyal brand fans will still be able to find classic styles including T-shirts offered in a wide variety of shades, the much-loved Disco Pants, high-waisted jeans, bodysuits, metallic leggings, unisex hoodies and fisherman pullovers.
The new focus is in direct response to the brand's past under Dov Charney, who was the subject of multiple sexual harassment and misconduct allegations. He eventually was ousted in 2015, which set in motion the company's attempt at rebranding and getting back on track.
After Gildan acquired it in 2017, the Canadian company did its best to breathe fresh life into American Apparel, including bringing in an almost exclusively female board. Sabina Weber, vice president of brand marketing, is responsible for reintroducing the company to British consumers.
"We did not want to change the brand, rather to refocus it on its positive and powerful aspects," Weber told Vogue. "We went through the archives of [American Apparel] imagery to re-inspire our team and evolve from our own DNA. We feature real people, unretouched and authentic."
American Apparel's previous marketing material mostly featured young women in minimal clothing, which some people complained was too overtly sexual. Weber said the new marketing materials will celebrate the models' "natural beauty" with positivity.
"We have a passionate marketing team—mostly young women—who have been passionately contributing to the evolution of the imagery and voice of the brand," she told Vogue. "[We] scrutinize every model, every piece of copy, every picture. We want to emphasize body positivity, diversity, inclusivity, empowerment, in a fresh, thoughtful, and culturally relevant approach... There is something deeply personal and special when you are driving every aspect of the brand with a team that is fully focused on the same objective."
For American Apparel, this is a necessary step to get back on track overseas. The shift in company culture was already in place after the company added Paula Schneider as CEO following Charney's departure. But, now that the financial dust has settled with Gildan, this solidifies the "new" company's intent.