The tale of one of the country’s most scandal-ridden companies is finally coming to an end. Clothier American Apparel, which has touted a “made in the USA, sweatshop free” ethos for the last 20 years or so, recently announced that it will shut down all 110 of its stores.
After filing for bankruptcy twice since 2015, the company — once considered an American manufacturing success story — sold its brand for $88 million in a bankruptcy auction last week to Canada’s Gildan Activewear, which manufactures branded basics like T-shirts, socks, and underwear.
Though the company hasn’t announced exactly when the stores will close, store representatives at four Philadelphia regional locations — Center City, King of Prussia, University City, and Cherry Hill — speculated that the stores will shut down sometime between February and April, though they had not yet been briefed internally about layoffs or store closings.
But layoffs have already begun elsewhere. Many of the 2,166 employees at the company’s Los Angeles headquarters and nearly 1,000 employees at a Los Angeles manufacturing facility stand to lose their jobs, Reuters reported on Monday, after Gildan reportedly withdrew its initial plan to buy some of American Apparel’s manufacturing operations. With this move, it’s unclear whether Gildan will commit to American Apparel’s “made in the U.S.A.” pledge after all and customers will have to say goodbye to an era that produced the company’s signature denim, nylon leggings, fleece hoodies, and cotton Spandex onesies.
“The spirit of American Apparel is dead,” said American Apparel founder Dov Charney, reports the Atlantic. Charney founded the company in his college dorm room in 1989 but was ousted from the company in 2014 following sexual misconduct allegations.
While the retail forecast is only getting bleaker (we’ve already reported on the shuttering of Macy’s, Sears and The Limited locations this year), American Apparel customers can score 40 percent off everything at every location and online, too.
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