American Apparel Makes Consumers Choose Where Their Clothes Are Made


American Apparel, the hipster clothing brand that hangs their high tops on being made in the U S of A, is now giving shoppers an ultimatum: pay extra for American-made, or save money on an identical, foreign-made item like the bargain-hunting hypocrite you are.

Their revamped site puts “Made in USA” clothing items from their basic collection side-by-side with their “Globally Made” twins, which run about 20% cheaper. 

The company says both versions are “sweatshop free” and “identical in quality” — so it literally just comes down to whether people care enough about American manufacturing to shell out an extra Hamilton.

They’re calling their entire value prop into question

Or rather, Gildan, their new parent company is.

The Canadian company that’s everyone’s favorite producer of white T 10-packs, acquired American Apparel in a bankruptcy auction earlier this year.

It’s a bit ironic, as Gildan works exclusively with manufacturers based in the Caribbean and Central America. They’ve also been accused of exploiting workers and running sweatshops overseas — and so far, the fate of American Apparel’s LA-based factories has been up in the air.

Don’t you put that evil on us

As a PR play, putting the moral responsibility on buyers is a genius move for Gildan. 

If it turns out people prefer the cheaper, non-US options, it validates their overseas business model while absolving them of guilt. But, if buyers are willing to shell out the extra cash, then they have a legitimate business justification for keeping stateside operations up-and-running.

Either way, they come out on top.

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