Wednesday, September 29, 2010

American Apparel No More?

I recently had a newbie customer who, bless her heart, could not get Paypal to work. She tried and she tried, but nigh: the site was being bitchy with international peeps. So in a last stitch resort to redeem her '70s sweater vest, she asked if I would accept an Amazon gift card instead. I'm not one for "trades" but then I remembered Amazon sells American Apparel. Sold!

Before the gift code hit my Inbox, I was already compiling a mega-wish-list ten times larger than the amount intended. While I was shopping at the Hollywood American Apparel, I fell in love with their sleeveless "Lawn Button-Up" tucked into high-waisted shorts. The billowing fit of a size XS(!) looked phenom with the Marilyn Monroe shorts I bought that afternoon. I always regretted not buying it, but my wallet forgave me.

Did I spend $68 more than my gift card? Yes. Was this Rum Raisin top worth $42+shipping+tax? Probably. Admittedly, I was seduced by the gift card and it's invitation to a "free" $35 purchase. But since I'm shit at narrowing options, I just decided to treat myself to the blouse above, 2 American Apparel tri-blend tanks, and the Alternative Apparel sweat pants I've been threatening to buy for weeks now in "Eco-Oatmeal."

Pretty legit.

Ever since I blew my proverbial load on separates and basics, I remembered my husband mentioning that American Apparel is extremely close to bankruptcy. They're closing a slew of stores in New York, their stocks are bottom-feeding, and they've lost about $30 million a year ($120m total). It's a little surreal to think about. This brand was on top of the world at one point, but their unwillingness to evolve is making them quickly irrelevant.

I mean, how many times a year do you buy basics? How many times ever, for that matter?

Right now, their fall 2010 catalogue is a pretty display of Katherine Hepburn inspired riding pants and camel cardigans. It's a welcomed departure from the neon spandex of old. But I still find their prices shockingly out of touch. I realize manufacturing clothes on US soil is more costly, but we're dealing with BASICS here. How often can one AFFORD to stock up at American Apparel?

Get Well Soon AA,
Sabrina London