American Apparel-ently repeating the same mistakes


First of all, welcome back SCAN fashion readers. Another year, another super-exciting American Apparel CEO departure for us to breakdown for you. Effective October 3rd, Paula Schneider – the fashion company’s previous chief executive officer – left her role in the Los-Angeles based fashion company.

For those who don’t remember our previous coverage of American Apparel CEOs going rogue, it is important to remember that just last year SCAN Fashion spoke about the problems the company [American Apparel] were facing, following Schneider’s decision to restructure the brand with aims to “enable American Apparel to become a stronger, more vibrant company.” Schneider took the role of CEO in January 2015 with the goal of restoring the brands elusive and desirable status, whilst also combatting the clandestine labelling afforded to the brand at the expense of Dov Charney’s previous scandalous exploits. American Apparel is, arguably, the United States’ most popular and recognised fashion retailer but with a debt totalling some $300 million, there is no difficulty in agreeing with Schneider’s decision to leave the company at this time.

In her departure, Schneider stated that although her decision to depart from the brand is effective, the majority of her plan to turn around the company’s debt from $300m to $135m was still in effect. That said, FashionUnited reports that the sale of the company itself may have influenced her decision to leave.

Schneider’s original plan was to close stores that were underperforming and focus on those that were bringing in profit for the company, thereby reallocating expenses into the most efficient outcome. While Lancaster has no available store to hit up, it is worth noting that our most local store – Manchester Arndale’s – was closed around a year ago and replaced by mobile phone retailer o2. That said, with American Apparel’s target marketing primarily being youths and millennials, it is easy to reconcile why the brand faces such difficulty. With prices that compete and exceed that of the Urban Outfitters, Topshop and River Island accompanied with a name that holds less street value; it is more practical for shoppers to spend their hard earned student loans elsewhere. Sometimes that £95 fisherman’s knit sweater is better spent on 3 practical pairs of jeans.

At this point, it is uncertain what awaits the fashion retailer. According to FashionUnited, “the company is expected to bring in less than 350 million dollars in revenue, which is roughly a little over half of what its annual revenue used to be.” With the loss of two figureheads in the past two years and the closures of multiple fashion retailers, it is less than practical to expect a strong return for the youth fashion line.

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