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American Apparel have relaunched in the UK with a slick new global e-commerce site and an exciting new campaign, entitled Back To Basics. Featuring a range of body types, ages and ethnicities, it symbolises the brand’s new focus on delivering clothes for real people.
But why, in the light of past mistakes, should we shop there? Cast your mind back and you might remember American Apparel found themselves in hot water after being criticised for hyper sexualised images. That, alongside allegations of sexual harassment against brand founder Dov Charney was enough to tarnish the brand and keep the customers away. Finally filing for bankruptcy in 2016, they were forced to close 110 stores.
So, fast forward two years what’s new and why should we shop there?
Well, for starters, before all of the controversy, the brand were really rather good. I for one seem to remember getting rather excited about AA when it first launched, but when scandal hit, I also remember thinking it had all become really rather expensive.
I mean, how much is anyone really prepared to spend on a t-shirt when they can buy one much cheaper some where else?
So what have they learned and where are they now? Well, the new collection focuses on inclusive sizing which is a good thing. No more minuscule lycra leggings for tiny people. And they’ve lowered the price points.
It really is the best of the old with a healthy serving of newness thrown in. Which means that fans of the classic styles won’t be disappointed.
There are still plenty of their trademark T-shirts on offer in a wide variety of shades. And they’ll still find an oasis of crop tops, metallic leggings, high-waisted jeans, bodysuits and hoodies.
American Apparel have clearly worked hard to revamp their identity. Now under the ownership of Canadian retail giant Gildan, the brand has an almost entirely female executive board.
Talking about the label’s turnaround to Digiday.com , Director of Brand Marketing Sabina Weber explained: “We asked, ‘Do we completely rebrand? Or do we look at what was good and re-envision that, and lean into it more strongly? The latter is ultimately the perspective that we took.”
In an interview with Vogue online, she expanded on this idea: "We did not want to change the brand, rather to refocus it on its positive and powerful aspects. We went through the archives of AA imagery to re-inspire our team and evolve from our own DNA.”
Sabina goes onto say: "We feature real people, unretouched and authentic. We still use the same flash photography and minimalist design approach.
"What really changed is our approach to sexy: our models are over 21 and we celebrate their sexiness with confidence, from a woman’s point of view – they are in control and we simply celebrate their unique ways of being sexy and body-positive."
Now all that remains to be seen is whether the customers come flooding back.
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