American Apparel’s (perv)asive ads — nubile tarts staring vacantly from bus stops and billboards throughout town — might distract from its ethical manufacturing/sweatshop-free ideology, but you can’t go wrong with the company’s simple, supersoft, form-fitting, candy-colored cotton pieces, especially when they’re displayed as appealingly as they are in the L.A.-based company’s rapidly multiplying store chain. It’s grown into an international retail conglomerate, but it all began in good ol’ downtown L.A., where the head offices remain to this day. The local shops (which first sprouted in Echo Park next to Burrito King on Alvarado, followed by Silver Lake, Little Tokyo, Hollywood, and after that we can’t even keep track) have the modernistic white wonderland vibe of the Apple Stores, only popping with a rainbow array of T-shirts, swimsuits, dresses and sweats you just have to have. The aesthetic is mostly sporty (A.A. stocks the ugly/trendy ’70s jogging-short and tube-sock look), but simple enough so that everyone is able to adapt something to his or her wardrobe — and we mean everyone; there’s even a line of vibrant basics for babies and puppies.

LA Weekly