Discovering innovations that matter since 2002

A sweatshop-free success story

Fashion & Beauty

American Apparel is committed to leveraging art, design, and technology to produce garments of the highest quality, while pioneering industry standards of social responsibility in the workplace. I.e. sweatshop-free!

American Apparel isn’t a brand-new idea, but is now rapidly becoming REALLY successful. The company’s core selling point is truly innovative, and expansion outside the home market is still in its infancy (read: global opportunities!). So — time for a highlight in this newsletter! What’s all the buzz about? In their own words, American Apparel is “the most passionate and innovative wholesale blank T-shirt manufacturer and distributor in the world. We are committed to leveraging art, design, and technology to produce garments of the highest quality, while pioneering industry standards of social responsibility in the workplace.” And the latter is exactly what gets customers (and us) excited: American Apparel is all about “Sweatshop Free” T-shirts. Again, in their own words: “Our goal is to seek profits through innovation, not exploitation. We are advancing a hyper capitalist-socialist business fusion. By relentlessly pursuing efficiencies in management and production, we aim to demonstrate that the use of exploitative labor tactics is not only unnecessary but actually counterproductive. We recognize that over-reliance on low-wage and ill-treated labor impedes progress and technological advancement by relying on an outmoded and inhumane way of thinking about human potential that continues to cripple third-world countries and consumer values.” Which means that everything American Apparel produces is sewn in their own downtown LA building, without subcontractors. They’re environmentally aware as well: thousands of tons of fabric are recycled annually. And customers love it: in 2003, American Apparel grossed USD 80 million, double its sales figures for 2002. Those numbers are expected to double again in 2004 (source: Salon.com). Last November, the company opened its first retail stores, two in New York City and one in Los Angeles, again with great success. It doesn’t hurt that the T-shirts (grounded in the ‘commodity fashion’ roots of U.S. apparel, according to the founder) are of excellent quality. Sounds like the American Dream, styled for a new generation that values honesty and responsibility above anything else!

Opportunities

American Apparel has proven that conducting business in a completely ethical manner can be successful. Besides further expansion in the US and Canada, the race is now on to prove it can work in the rest of the world as well. Shops in London, Frankfurt and Berlin are high on the list. So franchisees, distributors and license fanatics worldwide: time for a quick trip to down-town LA? And for those subscribers who aren’t in the fashion and apparel business: do you know of any areas where your firm should clean up its act and turn ethical behavior into an integral part of your brand, message and profits? Ben & Jerry’s did, Starbucks is doing it. You have to give to get!

Website: www.americanapparel.net/

Download PDF

Springwise Services:
Our expertise in spotting the latest innovations is the best resource to empower your team’s future planning.

Find out More