Dov Charney is the mythical phoenix of American retailers, literally rising from the ashes of American Apparel to reboot a whole new ”Made-in-America” apparel line, Los Angeles Apparel. Charney, once unceremoniously removed from command of American Apparel in 2014, is even more determined to prove that quality clothing can, and should be manufactured in Los Angeles, to the tune of a fair wage and a healthy profit margin.
Charney is launching his latest venture simply called, ”Los Angeles Apparel” along exactly the same lines as the now defunct American Apparel which Charney started in the 1990s.
”I am not planning to do anything differently. I am going to do what I have always done, which is run the show off the seat of my pants,” Charney said at a recent public event.
Charney has tried repeated to reclaim the beleaguered American Apparel since he was ousted in 2014, but all of his attempts have been unsuccessful. After multiple bankruptcies and thousands of workers losing their jobs the company was finally purchased by Canadian clothier Gildan Activewear. Gildan Activewear is reported to have purchased the American Apparel brand and some factory items for around $80 million. Charney’s comment on this was emblematic of his over-the-top, self-deprecating style, ”I can’t believe someone spent $100 million for a brand that I shot out of my ass in a high school dorm room.”
In his new venture, Charney is reportedly using a 100,000 square-foot factory based in South Central Los Angeles. Here he hopes to employ workers to manufacture blank T-shirts which he will sell wholesale to other apparel businesses under the new brand ”Los Angeles Apparel.” Charney’s goal isn’t all profit however, it seems that he is also hoping to hire around 1,000 frontline workers who lost their jobs at American Apparel through their recent bankruptcy.
The title of Charney’s new brand, “Los Angeles Apparel” says a lot about his faith in both California and its most prominent city. ”The city of Los Angeles is so wild as opposed to the rest of the United States. Forget California separatism and breaking away from the United States. We should separate Los Angeles,” quips Charney, ”We have the secret sauce. We have artists and motivated workers and academics.”
The melting pot of L. A. fits right in with Charney’s preferred operational milieu: Chaos. He considers the multi-ethnic tapestry of the city one of its strongest assets,”I think we should open up immigration even more and make it more crazy.” Charney continues to defy the status quo and make it up as he goes along, but his indefatigable optimism is contagious and hard to ignore.
As Charney himself says, ”I am here to change the world one T-shirt at a time.”ÊÊÊ