Opinion: With Dov Charney out, will American Apparel stop hawking ‘perverse political correctness’?

American Apparel
A man walks past an American Apparel store in New York City.
(Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

After a “summer of upheaval,” American Apparel finally booted its controversial founder, Dov Charney – officially.

The Times’ Shan Li reports that Paula Schneider, formerly a senior exec at BCBG and Laundy, will take over as CEO early next year.

She has a big task ahead. In addition to reversing the company’s declining profits, American Apparel will need to refocus its image.

As Times columnist Meghan Daum wrote in June:


“For years, even as Charney’s ‘eccentricities’ became common knowledge, American Apparel asked its customers to overlook not only its CEO’s misogyny but to actually celebrate the perverse political correctness of its brand. It asked them to view the near-naked, often pubescent-looking bodies in its starkly lighted, minimally Photoshopped ads not as a winking reference to pornography but as some kind of uber-hip expression of realness.

“American Apparel put pubic hair on mannequins and sold it as feminist commentary. It constantly reminded the public that its factories did not exploit workers overseas but paid them fairly in downtown Los Angeles. All the while, it peppered Sunset Boulevard with billboards depicting models looking not unlike sex workers in the developing world.”

Daum also called American Apparel the “McDonald’s of millennial fashion.” Seriously. With a side of ick.

How will Schneider reposition American Apparel? That should be interesting to watch unfold in 2015.


Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier

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