Well, you can’t say we weren’t expecting it. According to the latest reports, American Apparel is closing all 110 stores across the U.S. over the next few months. This comes after the brand’s intellectual property rights and some of its manufacturing equipment were bought by Canadian clothing wholesaler Gildan Activewear earlier this week. In case you missed it, AA first filed for bankruptcy protection back in late 2015. They filed again in 2016, and that’s when Gildan made their first bid for the made-in-America brand. While retail giants Amazon and Forever 21 were also in on the talks, Montreal-based Gildan clinched a deal with an $88 million bid.
Stores no more
Even though American Apparel is closing its physical presence, the brand will still exist within Gildan’s portfolio. On the bright side, that means you’ll still have access to those amazing hoodies. You can also stock up on your fave AA pieces online — for the next 100 days, anyway.
Of course, now that we know American Apparel is closing all of its U.S.-based stores, our most immediate concern is for employees. More than 3,400 retail jobs will be cut, whether in the next few days or months.
Made in the USA
The Gildan deal is also expected to bring the brand’s famous American manufacturing to an end. In an interview with Bloomberg, Gildan spokesman Gary Bell explained: “We’ve never been in a position to be able to assume operations…We’re not buying an ongoing concern.”
Gildan hasn’t yet confirmed where they’ll produce the American Apparel line, but don’t expect to see “Made in Canada” on the labels. The wholesaler hasn’t had a Canadian manufacturing presence since 2007. Today Gildan’s production is mainly in Honduras, with manufacturing in Bangladesh, Haiti, and Nicaragua as well.
In 2015, feminist labour organization CODEMUH reported that conditions in Gildan’s Honduras factories were among the worst in the country. The same year, Gildan pledged to donate $3.5 million to community projects in Honduras.
While the American Apparel brand had its controversies, we always admired its commitment to sweatshop-free production. We hope Gildan will take the ethical side of AA to heart.