American Apparel has been in dire need of a reinvention since the mid-2000’s when things started to go downhill rather quickly. Executive-level scandals and poor revenue reports ultimately led to the company, which once held the title of the largest American t-shirt manufacturer, to file for bankruptcy and ouster its founder/longstanding creative director, Dov Charney. (More about all of that right here).
Now, the revamped American Apparel is upon us and it is taking the form of luxury t-shirts. Adweek recently spoke with Cynthia Erland, American Apparel's SVP of marketing, to hear how the company plans to spring forward. One way: “The Perfect T-shirt.” (If this sounds like how Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen’s award winning brand, The Row, got its start, you’re right! The mini-moguls have spoken at some length in the past about how their now in-demand luxury brand came about in light of their attempts to create the “perfect” t-shirt).
According to Erland, this is the brand’s next big move: “Obviously American Apparel has been known for our true basics, but we've never really had a luxury T-shirt, a premium, beautiful fabric T-shirt. This is a big moment for us. Our older T-shirts are great, but they were a little bit heavier. They're still best-sellers; there's nothing wrong with them, but fashion has changed, trends have changed, fit has changed. But this is about more than a T-shirt campaign.
This is the campaign that will set American Apparel back on the map. We want to cast girls and guys, influencers and creatives of all ages, shapes and sizes. This will be an omni-channel global campaign, and the broader message will be that American Apparel is back and for everyone.”
When asked about how the brand’s notoriously sexual marketing will change, Erland said: “You know, marketing is fluid, everything evolves, and fashion has evolved over the past 10 years. It's definitely going to be gritty, real, independent and revolutionary, with young artists. It may be sexual; it may not. It will be how they freely express themselves.”