American Apparel is changing its whole way of being, thank god

When Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, was fired last year from his position as CEO of the company in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and personal misconduct, the company’s future felt like it was pretty up in the air.

Now, new chief Paula Schneider sits in the driver’s seat, and it looks like she’s changing basically everything about American Apparel for the better.

As the New York Times reports, Schneider is starting by revamping the face of the brand. One of AA’s new campaigns features openly gay young teen viral-video star Brendan Jordan.

Schneider sees kids like Jordan as the future of American Apparel:

“Here’s this 15-year-old kid talking about how he came out of the closet, and what it’s like to be 15 and gay, and we gave him his voice,” Schneider said. “This is an edgy brand and it’s always going to be an edgy brand, and it’s about social commentary, it’s about gay rights, and it’s about immigration reform. It’s about the things millennials care about.”

As AA rolls out their Valentine’s Day ads, inclusivity is also Schneider’s primary goal:

“We have a woman who’s like eight feet tall in it, a transgender person, a woman who’s 70 years old. So it’s a very broad mix of people. We’re a very accepting brand.”

Things aren’t just changing on the outside for American Apparel. Internally, she’s beefing up the planning staff (there was just ONE planner overseeing the 3,000 cutters, sewers, and designers when Schneider arrived).

Additionally, American Apparel has always been proud of their “Made in America” sweatshop-free product, and Schneider is big on making local production work to the company’s advantage in every way possible.

“If you look back in the early 1990s, there was a lot of stuff that was being made in L.A., made in America,” Schneider explained. “Then it became an obsolete business model because you could go overseas, you could make it for far less. Fast fashion kicked in, and all of a sudden those people overseas couldn’t change things fast enough But we can put something out on the floor on Monday, find out on Thursday that it’s a hit, go back into production on it on Friday and have it back out on the floor again a week later. No one else can do that.”

We are so excited for this new and improved American Apparel. Schneider has promised to stay true to AA’s bold beginnings, but refashion the company’s trademark ballsiness so that the company can be both current and progressive.

“[The new American Apparel] is not going to be benign,” she adds. “Whether it’s going to be sexy, or whether it’s going to be social causes, it’s going to be interesting.”

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