100% American…Apparel

August 13, 2009

picture-18So I walked by my local American Apparel (AA) today on the way to work, and noticed a sign outside saying “Made in the USA.” I think it’s been there for awhile, but today was the first day I noticed. At first I cringed, then chuckled, and finally walked away shaking my head. To me, that sign together with American Apparel epitomes the current set of American values.

Cut corners to make $: American Apparel mass produces low quality clothing for pennies, but in neon colors and see-thru thin fabric, and label and sell them as fashionable and overpriced. I own one white shirt that looked and fit fine before I washed it. Now it looks and feels like a baby’s cloth diaper. If you gave a homeless person American Apparel to stay warm, he/she should probably spit in your face. The thing is, I can’t be the only who realizes this, but people still wait outside the door for these stores to open.

SEX SEX SEX, got your attention now: American Apparel either has the most brilliant marketing strategists or the laziest. All their advertisements consists of young, innocent looking girls barely wearing their wispy clothing posing provocatively. It’s genius. And these girls aren’t your Penthouse, Hustler looking pornstars, but the brown-eyed cute girls living next door who are secretly wearing see-thru bra and panties. Then American Apparel provides an easy way for girls, and guys, to look and feel sexy like their ads. Brilliant or lazy?

Tell me how to dress, how to think: Every few weeks American Apparel updates their window front with new combinations of clothing based on the latest fashion trends. And walking down the street in NYC is basically an imitation of last week’s mannequins. Why put thought into what you’re wearing when they do it completely for you. At AA, you can buy the latest fashionable jeans, jackets, shirts, pants, skirts, socks, shoes, belts, hats, panties, bras, shorts, accessories…I can go on. You can even buy baby clothing. How lazy does a parent have to be to buy baby clothes at AA? This behavior parallel’s the average American’s desire to be spoon-fed everything. Why think about what to wear when someone will do it for you? Why read books when people rehash the facts for you? Why do research on important discussion topics, such as global warming, foreign affairs, economics, health care, when the internet, TV, and newspapers will do it for you?

Anyways, I’m exhausted. This post might be my longest yet. Don’t worry, we’ll hit back with some more of the usual music, art, and culture posts in the future.

Keep Company

October 2, 2008

I recently stumbled on Keep in the latest issue of Nylon. A clothing, shoe and apparel company, Keep was originally started with women in mind and continues to tailor most of its products towards women. Interestingly though, Keep recently became inundated with requests from men to begin carrying their footwear in men’s sizes. Intrigued, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

Keep’s footwear incorporates mostly classic styles and patterns, often reminiscent of the timeless designs of Clarks and the Converse All-Star hi. Yet two designs really caught my eye. First, the Nuss—pictured above—stood out for combining a solid color midsole with the patterned fold-over. It reminded me a bit of Visvims, a brand highly touted by my pal Soybomb. I really like the use of traditional plaid, argyle and southwestern patterns on this particular shoe.

I was also a fan of the Benton—pictured left—which looks like a moccasin/dock sider hybrid. Not sure if I’d ever actually wear this style, but I really like the concept. To be honest, I’ve never really noticed Keep shoes in stores, but according to the website, you can find them at shops like Reed Space, Atrium and even WeSC. Who knew. To peep the rest of their collection, check out http://www.keepcompany.com/

American Apparel

September 3, 2008

By now it’s no secret: American Apparel sells hip, comfortable clothes, but uses very suggestive images of women in their ads to do so, a practice that seems contrary to the company’s claims of being a socially responsible brand. I stumbled upon a Newsweek piece from a while back that discusses this very issue. It even mentions a particularly provocative billboard that used to be at the corner of Houston and Allen and one that we would always comment on walking past. Turns out the reason it came down was because someone had tagged the phrase “Gee, I wonder why women get raped” across the top of it. Jeesh. That’s one way to make a point. Take a look at the Newsweek article HERE, it’s pretty interesting.