The End of American Apparel

American Apparel, the company founded by charismatic weirdo Dov Charney, first filed for bankruptcy protection on October 5th, 2015.

It amounted to a fall from grace from just three years earlier when Charney had told ABC news that American apparel would live beyond his own lifetime. What he neglected to mention was that its ongoing life would be as an online only store, no longer making clothes in the USA.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explore how Charney’s high-minded idea of making clothes ethically went so dramatically wrong; discuss how the brand got rich by using gritty lo-fi sexuality to sell everyday basics; and look into how Charney’s cult of personality eventually proved his undoing…

Content warning: reference to sex, abuse, pornography

Further Reading:

• ‘10 Most Controversial American Apparel Ads’ (Time Magazine, 2014): 

• ‘American Apparel files for bankruptcy’ (The Guardian, 2015): 

• ‘American Apparel CEO talks about the allegations against him’ (ABC, 2014):

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.

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