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American Apparel Is Effectively Over, Sold At Auction to Canadian Company for $88 Million

Image via AP.
Image via AP.

The charred remains of long-embattled retailer American Apparel were bought at auction for $88 million by Canada’s Gildan Activewear, which plans to close its 110 remaining U.S. stores and shutter its Los Angeles manufacturing facilities. At its height in 2007, American Apparel was valued at nearly $1 billion, and late last year at between $180 and $270 million.


Around 3,500 factory and headquarters workers are expected to lose their jobs.

The Los Angeles Times reports that according to analysts, Gildan will likely move most or all of its production overseas. California’s minimum wage, which will rise to $15 in 2021, is seen as a deterrent for staying in the state. From the Times:

As American Apparel stores close, the company’s goods will probably continue to find wholesale buyers — meaning concert T-shirts and corporate-branded swag will still have American Apparel tags.

Gildan also makes clothing sold through other retailers, meaning it’s likely American Apparel branded products could wind up in lower-cost chains such as Target or Kmart.

“American Apparel is headed to the discount bin,” Greif said. “What was once considered to be an upscale brand doesn’t have that cachet anymore.


“This is not a business that should have gone out of business,” ousted company founder Dov Charney, who tried to buy back the retailer early last year for $300 million, said to the Times. “This business went out of business because of Wall Street malfeasance.”

In September, CEO Paula Schneider left the company and was replaced by a CEO with a background in mergers and acquisitions. Schneider was brought in two years ago to turn the company around after Charney’s dramatic exit following numerous sexual harassment lawsuits, and her tenure oversaw a less-sexualized image overhaul, massive internal turmoil, endless litigation, union organizing efforts, and protests; at one point garment workers bashed in a piñata of her likeness.

Dov Charney’s got a new project going, though, so we can all...look that.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.

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Kate Dries

For those interested, Start Up recently did a several episode series about Charney’s attempts at starting his new company and his past at American Apparel. While I’m generally skeptical of our societal tendency to give so-called complicated male figures a lot of attention in some sort of attempt to figure them out, it’s an incredibly thorough look at how the company’s rise and fall was shaped by Charney’s behavior and all that came with that—Lisa Chow and her team did quite a good job.