Is American Apparel’s Target Market “People Who Pretend to Care, But Don’t”?


this is april flores. she's hot. deal with it.

Today’s “American Apparel is an asshole” story comes via April Flores, a kickass queer adult entertainer who also graces the cover of SEXIS this month along with Buck Angel.

Obviously readers were intrigued by your experience with an American Apparel showroom rep, who told you that the company wasn’t into making plus-sizes — because that’s not their “demographic.” Do you want to expand on that?

We started conceptualizing the idea of creating a [plus-size] clothing line about three years ago. We finally had a complete logo design and we had started looking for T-shirts to use for the line. We had an appointment to look at sizes and clothing samples [at American Apparel]. I became frustrated that the largest size T-shirt they carried was 2x — which ran small. I was frustrated when the rep told me that the men’s t-shirts came in larger sizes. I thought it was ridiculous that the only choice I would have with their brand would be to use men’s t-shirts. I was truly shocked at the rep’s disdain when she told us that plus sizes are not their demographic.

So here we are again. With another reason to dislike American Apparel. It’s a long list now, isn’t it? Between Dov Charney’s sexual harassment lawsuits (and overall really gross track record), admitted masturbation in front of female employees and rapey advertisting campaigns we have plenty of reasons to not buy American Apparel clothing.

Yet we keep on shopping there. Right? I mean, you’re not going to do anything. We aren’t.The thing is that whereas we pretty much assume that most of the companies we consume products from — Viacom! McDonald’s! — are obviously The Evil Empire, American Apparel isn’t so obvious. Or is it that it’s not so Evil Empire?AA specifically targets a demographic that’s supposed to be, by ‘definition’, socially/politically aware or at least serious about women’s rights.  Is their target demographic are the kind of people who pretend to care but don’t? Jezebel and Gawker, our primary sources for American Apparel related bad news, openly admit that they take AA as an advertiser. We would, too.

In any event, if you do buy American Apparel — buy your V-Neck via amazon using this link or your boyshorts here and 5% of your ethically questionable purchase comes back to us, right here at Autostraddle. Do you feel weird now? Don’t. It’s probs an easier compromise than you’ve made all day! Oh, life.


The Supreme Court plans to look at Fred Phelps this fall. “Albert Snyder sued Phelps, and Snyder argued at trial that the demonstration invaded his privacy, caused emotional distress and violated his rights to free exercise of religion and peaceful assembly. He said a treatise posted on the church’s Web site specifically mentioned Matthew and his family.” (@washingtonpost)


Want to track your period? There’s an app for that. Want to know about your friends? Well, you can look that up too. Actually, the FAQ makes it sound a creepy/sexist. “Simply put, Flojuggler is an application designed to track the menstrual cycles of multiple women. Why would you want to do that? Let’s say you have two tickets to the big concert and you want to get lucky afterwards because… well… the tickets are $75 each so… you have a list of possible candidates but you’re just not sure which one is on her flo.”(@flojuggler)


One man does everything his wife tells him to do for a month. “The whole thing could basically have been written in the early 1960s, except for the “twist” ending — instead of finishing the entire experiment at the one-month mark as planned, Jacobs decides to go on changing the loo paper and refilling the soap dispensers whenever he notices they need it. You know, like a normal person. Progress!” If I printed this article out and put it on my fridge, do you think my roommate would think I was being condescending and passive-aggressive or helpful? Because I would love a little help with the dishes, yannow? (@jezebel)


How does your name shape you? “Names are becoming increasingly diverse in the United States. Cleveland Evans, former president of The American Name Society, says more parents are seeking distinctive names for all sorts of reasons, from paying tribute to their child’s ethnicity to giving the child a unique Google legacy.” (@cnn)


We did an interview with celesbian chef Anita Lo last year, following the destruction of her restaurant Annisa because of an electrical fire. Annisa is now back up and running, and it looks better than ever. (@nymag)


The co-creator of Trivial Pursuit co-creator has died. This article is amazing because it also includes the history of Trivial Pursuit, which we love (though not as much as Scattergories). (@cbcnews)

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

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  1. I’m not a person that pretends to care, I just love the AA v-neck. I’m a sucker for it. And in my defense, I’ll wear the damn shirt if I want. I’ve spent months eating healthy and exercising to get fit, and damn, I finally fit into clothes that I actually love. So I’m going to continue to count my calories and workout every other day, and I’ll wear my damn AA v-neck if I want to!

    Ok, sorry about that rant and the use of exclamation marks, I just had to speak for the people who hated standing in front of mirrors, but worked hard to not hate it.

    • All very good points (and congratulations are clearly due).

      However. There’s always a however.

      While I respect AA’s right to target whomever they want (or not target, as it were), there’s something to this article.

      AA is a company that has consciously built an image; dare I say, a “progressive” image? Does progressive always mean inclusive? Mmm. No. It doesn’t.

      But when you tout yourself as a righteous (yeah I said it. RIGHTEOUS.) and good-willed company, it’s unexpected to see such clear discriminatory lines drawn.

      It would have been one thing if they had said (even if it was a lie) that they hadn’t experienced the demand for it, they were researching it, etc….But to blatantly (and snobbishly, might I add) proclaim that a certain type of person isn’t a concern of theirs, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Not quite so angelic now, are we?

  2. …it might just be because I’m in a bad place right now, but Flojuggler sounds like some sort of player/pimp-tool to me.

  3. I don´t pretend to care about the sizes AA carries. I really don´t give a flying fuck. I don´t have the energy to care about that.

  4. Their freakin’ clothes are good, made in USofA, and put food on the table for a lot of people. What’s not to like?
    Give a sh*t about real things for a change. In this f*cked up world, you choose to “hate” AA? Get a life that matters!

    • Someone doing something good doesn’t negate them doing something bad.

      For instance, if a company made clothes in the US without sweatshop labor but refused to sell to people of color, well, would that make them any less racist? Nope. Sure, they’d be doing something good, but they’d also be doing something not so good. Companies are complex. There’s no such thing as “pure good” or “pure evil,” only what you’re willing to accept.

  5. i think maybe the problem is that we’re totally demented in america at this point to think that success within the American capitalist system can co-exist with any kind of morality or ethics. like dov charney has great conditions in his factories, so obviously he executes “reigns of sexual terror” upon his female employees (as reported).

    these are the two possibilities as i see them:
    1. we are all assholes, we just don’t know about everyone’s specific assholish behavior until they have enough money & power for us to pay attention.
    2. only assholes achieve attention-garnering levels of money and power.

    on twitter lady gaga just announced that she is doing an exclusive video release on Perez Hilton at 9:30. See what I mean?

    • Ew, see? That is just motherfucking HATEFUL. I just went from being “meh” about her to being totally fucking “GET OUT OF MY FACE, GROSS.” Perez? Really? DIAF.

      • People are / turn into assholes for all kinds of reasons, let’s not be unfair to wealth and power.

        • Point being there is no real incentive for corporations to act morally/ethically (to a certain point) but rather to operate in legal gray areas. Their duty is to their shareholders and no one else.

  6. Also, I feel it’s important to clarify that the amount of AA v-necks owned by Team Autostraddle means we clearly haven’t bought into a boycott either.

  7. I have no problem with boycotting AA. You can find cheaper, cuter clothes elsewhere without the hint of smug and misogyny.

    • This. Though it does get difficult when other (often more ethical) designers use AA stuff as bases for their clothes.

      • Yes! I’ve never bought American Apparel clothes from American apparel, but many of my concert t-shirts/hoodies are AA.

  8. Maybe this is the opportunity for another amazing company/brand to come out of nowhere with their PERFECTLY SLIM-FITTED UNISEX TEES (and v-necks) and advertise with Autostraddle as ‘the American Apparel with actual morals’. Just saying.

    Until that happens, um, I am still going to wear the goddamn best v-neck I can find. I’m sorry that it only comes from American Apparel… I’VE LOOKED.

    With that said, AA should wise-up and create some shit for the plus-sized chicas cause they could make money off of it just like they do right now with us androgynous unisex-loving lezzes.

    • I see no problem with not caring, because there’s nothing a comment on a site can do about that. What I don’t get is caring and shopping there anyway. Is the V-neck really worth it?

    • I have a few Alternative Apparel shirts and I LOOOOVE them [].

      Though I’ll admit I shop a ton at AA, so that suggestion comes w/ no moral obligations.

      • Seconding this. They do make whisper-thin, dreamily lightweight cotton thingees in all shapes and sizes. I like. MAMA LIKE.

  9. I like to smugly announce that I’ve never shopped at American Apparel wherever possible. I feel strongly that it compensates in levels of obnoxiousness where I fail because I’m not vegan or sober, refuse to wear deodorant, mix my own toothpaste from compost remnants, etc. That sort of thing.

    When I found out that my name IRL basically means “Come Hither, Bitches” I definitely got a lot cockier than I had been before.

    I need to live up to SOMETHING, you know?

  10. what’s frustrating for me is that i love american apparel’s clothes. what i hate is the price and dov charney and the hipster culture around it.

    • I hate what a sexist fucking rape-y douchenut he is. Which permeates every goddamn thread of clothing sent forth under his name as far as I’m concerned.

      I know it’s a bit strong, but I can’t help it.

      Re: girls who wear AA, whatever. Do what you’ve got to do, ladies. I am far more likely to judge girls with BO and bad tattoos than for wearing AA, so…

  11. Is American Apparel more popular in the US than Topshop or H&M?

    i own one size S American Apparel shirt, and it’s a pretty tight fit compared to H&M size S shirts which flow better.

    • I don’t like how H&M is so different in all the stores and you can’t buy anything online.

          • we do not have zara but i hear it’s the shit. we do have mandee’s. and eternity fashion, my number one favorite place to buy shoes for $10.

          • we have zara in nyc, it is very sterile but fashion-forward. their pants fit me pretty well actually, but i haven’t been in a while.

          • i read online that Uniqlo just opened a big store in america. i’ve only been to Uniqlo in Shanghai years ago.

            Uniqlo’s sizes should be more normal, like Topshop. American Apparel’s clothes are really too small since their size S shirts are probably the equivalent of XS in Topshop or H&M.

          • g, isn’t fat positivity really about acceptance of all types of bodies? some people need sizes that are “too small” just like others need sizes that are “too big.”

          • Dude, I just bought two pairs of RVCA-for-girls trousers and they’re so boss. On sale for $30 apiece! I want super rugged but massively high-heeled boots to tuck them into.

          • hi laura, i don’t know what fat positivity is exactly, but i agree that t-shirt companies should cater to people who both need small sizes and big sizes.

            there should be a wide range of sizes, that’s actually the smart thing to do right if you sell t-shirts, if you want to earn a lot. i don’t know why the AA company would want to limit their sizes.

            actually i was talking about something slightly different. i’m just speculating that’s why they don’t want to make plus sized shirts. because they just want to make their clothes really small. i think the AA company’s sizes are different from other t-shirt companies.

            for example, H&M, Lacoste (it’s still alive in my country), and Topshop size S shirts are almost the same size, but AA size S are smaller. so i’m thinking maybe it’s their style, they just want to sell small clothes. but they don’t follow standard sizes. like i’m sure there’s some factory standard right, like for shoes? like S means this size, XS, this size, M, L, XL.

            because people who are really thin (like my friend, she is one of those people who wears “too small” sizes, sometimes buys from Zara’s kid section) wear Topshop XS sizes, but if they buy from AA, it will be only S. so AA’s XS must be really really small. like they use a different system of measurement. if it’s XS from AA, it’s probably already XXS size if it’s from another t-shirt company.

  12. I think as of right now the best option is to lead a revolution and overthrow Dov’s reign of terror and then take all the tri-blend deep v-necks for ourselves.

  13. We don’t have AA where I live. But I went to Aussie and had belgian beer on an empty stomach and bought a bloody 8 dollar black headband, because they were open and it felt like a good idea at the time. I couldn’t believe the level of hipster, and I don’t know how to feel about their lack of size range really. But would I buy something there if I thought I would fit something they sold? Unlikely because the things I saw that I liked I could get for a more reasonable price elsewhere.

  14. I’m in this love-hate relationship with American Apparel. I actually really like their clothing.

    I’ve looked elsewhere and a lot of clothing brands just do not appeal to me, because they have too much going on. The clothing AA sells is simple but it looks fucking great and for some strange reason, I am attracted to it. Don’t know why.

    On the other hand, the reported sexual harassment and lack of plus-size just pisses me off like no end. For a company who is pretty in the know of human rights (Legalize Gay), some other aspects of their company… they’re not so in the know.

  15. i think the Legalize Gay t-shirt is a perfect example of AA’s smug hipster ‘we care’ attitude. Reading the headline (“People Who Pretend to Care, But Don’t”) I thought of my reaction when a colleague of mine turned up wearing one. I can’t believe anyone can wear this shirt in all seriousness. AA is a big (well, reasonably big anyway) corporation with a very smart marketing department. They DON’T care about gay rights. They DO care about making money.

  16. If there is one thing I hate (besides male CEO’s terrorizing female employees-Dov “dickface” Charney), it’s the way lesbians love to glorify fat chicks. I mean, c’mon, I know we are supposed to be all about acceptance, but really? AA should make plus sizes, but lesbians should not be defending unhealthy lifestyles. Fat, not curvy, is never hot, DEAL WITH IT.
    Gay, thin & proud.

  17. I should have known better than to drop this on a lesbian site. I always hope that somebody out there won’t be a PC prick.
    FAT=UNHEALTHY. Stop wasting your breath on anos, there are way more obese (read: unhealthy) girls out there. And I’m not hating on curvy chicks. I just don’t find diabetes and hypertension hot. Thin IS healthy, I never said only-bones was. Aren’t we supposed to love our bodies?
    This is the kind of shit that gives lesbians a bad name, and I care about what other people think and I know some lesbian is going to be all like “I don’t care, I’m a rebel”. I don’t care what lesbians think because I guess they all dig athersclerotic (not erotic) pussy. Whatever.
    Still, Autostraddle rocks sweet balls. Awesome.
    Each to his/her(zis?) own I suppose.

  18. I couldn’t agree more. I’m stuck in a limbo with my feelings towards AA.

    I do love their clothes, just because they have really cute, minimalist clothes. I love that they’re made in America by Americans to prevent sweat shop abuse.

    What I don’t love is how expensive it is In my mind, they jack up their prices above their competitors’ prices solely on the reason that they are made in the USA, and not in a foreign country’s sweat shop. Though that is great for moral reasons, how is this helping the consumers? It’s like we get punished with high prices just because its made in America, which to me, is ridiculous. It should be a fair price, regardless of the country of origin. Second, I hate the lack of size range and how their sizes run. I’m not necessarily “fat” or “skinny”. I have broad shoulders for a girl and I have bigger thighs due to muscles from swimming. Because of my more, I guess, athletic/larger set(?) body type, I usually lean towards mediums and larges. AA’s mediums and larges fit like smalls and slim mediums. If you ask me, its false advertising or over generalizing that their consumers will have the same measurements as their soft porn models (which I won’t even get into, too many people already have). So because of the huge margin between their sizing and how those sizes are actually supposed to fit, I have to get XLs from them, a size in which they hardly ever carry in store, and if they do, the employees give you a gross look for. It’s embarrassing, honestly. Not that I have to have an XL pair of jeans or anything, but because of the way their employees condescend customers who have to get the larger sizes due to their sizes not running like most other sizes do. I think they need to both expand their size range and make their sizes run a little bit larger, or at least make certain items fit differently Because no matter what AA wants to think, we’re not all XS customers who wear size 00 jeans. We all vary in size and shape. And isn’t that what America is about? Accepting everyone of every shape and size and color? Rather than directing their attention to their O-Mighty! and Shop Jeen hipster/grunge consumers, they need to try to reach those of all different styles and own up to their name of AMERICAN Apparel. And American means different.

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