American Apparel founder Dov Charney long ago left the building, and his breakup with the company's board of directors has featured more salty beef than Yoshinoya. But the Los Angeles–based company clearly retains much of Charney's liberal, pro-immigrant spirit, at least in its marketing.
After it was observed that some of Trump's Republican National Convention merchandise, often featuring Ronald Reagan's campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” used American Apparel blanks, the company released a statement making it clear that it wanted no association with those particular threads.
American Apparel is a company that stands for inclusiveness, as is evidenced by our campaigns tackling issues such as immigration reform, discrimination, marriage and gender equality.
Because we believe in free trade, we sell our American-made T-shirts to thousands of screen printers across the country, allowing them to sell to any customers they choose.
Since we cannot control our wholesalers’ business practices, we want to emphasize that our core values do not always align with the messages printed on the end consumer’s product.
In fact, American Apparel has been pulling in revenue as a result of broadcasting its distaste for Trump and his party's platform. It has created a line of clothing that features the slogan “Make America Gay Again.” The shirts with those words appear to be sold out for now.
During Charney's heyday, the firm produced T-shirts with the words “Legalize L.A.”
Charney repeatedly reminded the world that not only do immigrants make profitable, made-in-America clothing possible but that he paid them above-minimum wages.
You could say, then, that after Trump famously proclaimed that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, at least some of his own campaign clothing was made by alleged criminals and rapists.
Meanwhile, American Apparel's pro-immigrant stance made it the fashion darling of a city that claims to be the largest clothing manufacturing town in the United States.
Since Charney's departure in 2014, the company has experienced layoffs and defended itself against allegations that it's not the worker-friendly workplace it once was. But, despite rumors that outsourcing has been under consideration, American Apparel continues as a champion of domestic employment.
At a time when Trump allowed his name to be put on Macy's clothing made in China, Charney was making the label “Made in America” cool with millennials.