I used to be one of those people. I’m not at all judgemental by nature, and very open minded when it comes to fashion, but there was one brand that I literally used to scoff at. And I mean literally – I once walked into this particularly store and said, without thinking who was around me, “Who actually buys this crap?”. I can safely say that I look back on that and feel like a total spanner.
I’m talking about American Apparel. The land of staple pieces made from shiny nylon and patterned spandex. Items that I used to think were grossly overpriced, as dull as dishwater and worth little more than the £5 something similar would be at Primark. But I’ve had a change of heart.
I started to notice the ‘Made in the USA’ claim appearing every time I saw the brand mentioned. I didn’t really think too much about it – I’m sure there are awful, probably illegal sweatshop-style factories all over the States. Not that I imagined American Apparel would operate in that way, but I didn’t really dwell on the matter. Simultaneously, my love for brands like Black Milk started to develop even more. After chats with people like the awesome Laila K, Sonic Boom Six singer and fellow Black Milk-lover, I started to see more and more of the value in well-made, good quality clothing.
So then, I guess, things snowballed. I noticed the ‘Sweatshop Free’ tagline just below the brand logo on the American Apparel store in Manchester – now that got my attention. It made me want to research the brand more, find out a little about what they do and how they do it. And I am very glad I did.
There’s more to explain than I could fit in this post, but as a snapshot – American Apparel are committed to things such as decent wages and benefits for their staff, totally making their own products, looking after the environment and investing in the future. There’s lots more to read on their company website HERE. Ok, so some of their advertising is a little odd – and leaves me feeling a bit weird afterwards – but like any company I guess they’re just trying to make their mark.
Right about now you’re probably thinking, “Chyaz, all of that is great but it doesn’t mean you suddenly like the clothes?!”. Well, I guess I’ve had a change of heart about that too. After my research I went into the store and took a look with fresh eyes. I touched and felt the clothes (not in a creepy way, although it’s going to sound like that however I put it) and looked closer at things like the stitching and design. Some of the pieces are not really my thing, but some of them really are.
I ended up buying a pair of leggings, these ones – obviously the image is taken from their website. The quality and feel is divine and I couldn’t be more thrilled with them!
Granted, I’m not going to be replacing my whole wardrobe any time soon – I see American Apparel as a brilliant place for staples like leggings that you want to LAST. I’m glad that I finally understand where they are coming from, and will genuinely be making the store a stopping point on my shopping trips. Nice one, American Apparel. You’ve won me over.