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Is American Apparel Skeevier in Real Life Than It Is In Ads?

American-apparel-ad American Apparel has a new hiring practice in place that lets them weed out the ugly and out of shape. Apparently, all potential employees are now vetted by an unknown person (or team or people) via photographs emailed in with applications.  One photo of the applicant's face and one full body head-to-toe (not sideways) shot. Seems like an awful lot of potential degradation to go through for a job that pays 9(-ish) bucks an hour, doesn't it?  Oh, and EEeeeewwwWWW.

Gawker has been doing some investigation into American Apparel since it caught wind of AA's new hiring policy which requires every applicant to be photographed by an employee, who is then to email the photos to [email protected] from a personal email account, not the company's computers.  The photos, according the source, are more important in the hiring process than the applications that come along with them. Sources say that the most attractive applicants are hired and promoted more quickly than less attractive ones.  

American-apparel-ad5 American Apparel is known for their company policy to use employees as their models. Charming, no?

American Apparel has released a statement saying that they do this to make sure that the employees are fashionable and representing the clothing in a cool way to the customers. Which kind of makes sense, so, okay, I'll buy that... but then when past employees and other people start saying things like their manager referred to unattractive applicants as "off-brand" and are given instructions on what kind of black women they want hired?  Well, now that smacks of all kinds of discrimination, now doesn't it? American-apparel-ad-2

The stories they are getting read like some kind of catty-modeling-agency-tv-show-nightmare.  When one employee's friend was denied via an email back from the photo auditor (a favored model of Dov Charney's, the pervy CEO of AA) that stated "Her hair is bad, and I think that I can see a nose piercing. Also, she's not wearing our best styles. She will not be considered."  When asked to take another look at the friend, the employee recieved this response, "It's not a matter of change, its a matter of taste. We are looking for fashion leaders, not fashion laggers."  Meeow!

It is also company practice to police the employee's appearances at every store, according to this former employee, "Not only did they police our clothes but our eyebrows, makeup, nails and hair color. They also openly mocked employees by posting photos of them online."  And they would be judged on a weekly basis. Fun!  Where do I sign?

The most egregious anecdotal information they received, in my opinion, however, came from a former AA manager who recalled being informed as to what kind of black women should be scouted for employement in a company open call to herself and another manager. "[...]none of the trashy kind that come in, we don't want that. we're not trying to sell our clothes to them. try to find some of these classy black girls, with nice hair, you know?"

OH-EM-EFFING-GEE. I can't ... I want to ... I don't even know where to start with that.  Except to say that I will never shop at an Apparel Store nor allow any of my children to.  Go and read the full stories here and here to decide for yourself.

And one more thing: Seriously, who would work a minimal wage retail job like this for a guy that looks like this?!


You can see his peen!!!  EEEEWWW!  And he looks like he should be on several states' most wanted lists.  Gah. 

And in case you need reminding of how skeevy this company's ads are, let me remind you:  




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Strike another store from my list officially. Not that I've ever bought anything in the actual stores -- but a lot of t-shirt printers buy AA stuff because it's supposedly higher quality.

This is a lot like the supposed Abercrombie practice of assigning people to jobs in the stores based on appearance -- hot boy egregiously standing shirtless outside in the mall, plainer Janes in the stock room.

Except this is worse. UGH.

Miss Banshee

I am officially horrified that I actually own one singular piece of AA clothing. A skirt, BTW, that fits my size 6 frame perfectly. Yeah, it's an XL. So size 6 is an XL, sayeth AA. I had no idea as to their hiring practices. I will NEVER shop there again. How is this LEGAL?

Miss Grace


And I love their tights.

Oh well.


I own two pieces of AA clothing, my kid's Helvitica shirts. And I now regret purchasing even those.

American Apparel is gross. GROSS.

Katie L.

Ugh. I cannot believe you can see that dirty a-hole's pee pee. So. Gross. I have nothing of theirs, and will continue to not support them. Creepy creepy!


It is just too early in the day for thonged asschecks, 70's porn rejects peens and that level of sheer grody.



Oy, I've never liked them after hearing about the previous cases regarding sexual harrassment and their just ugly ads. There's a store near me and it's the street people turn to for my apartment--my sister refers to it in direction as "turn at the ugly clothing store" because the store displays are so hideous.

I was upset when I realized one of the shirts I bought from a web comic was AA. I now check much more carefully. I hope there's nothing wrong with Bella because those are the other brand a lot of web comics use for their shirts and they fit my curvy frame perfectly.


That is disgusting. And grody. And foul. And every other word I can't think of at the moment.


It is just too early in the day for thonged asscheeks and some 70's porn wannabe's peen.


That company sucks.


The only AA stuff I own are T-shirts with designs from other companies- Threadless, etc. I wish other designers would quit using them because they have long been known to have disgusting practices, their ads are skeevy, and their sizes are quite ridiculous (as Miss Banshee points out).


This article made me dry heave. I've never bought anything at AA becuase the clothes aren't really my style but now I have an even bigger reason to avoid it.

Elizabeth Mitchell

What a creepy company!


Amazing. For a company that puts its marketing into showing that they're not an outsourced company and pay their workers fair wages, they go and pull this crap? Bad, bad move.

I have a lot of my apparel printed with AA for the fact that they're an American based company and this leaves a sour taste in my mouth.


I'd be willing to bet that nearly all clothing chains that cater to a certain demographic have borderline and/or outright discriminatory hiring practices. Abercrombie & Fitch...man, I've heard some really upsetting stories. But AA seems to almost flaunt their particular brand of this bullshit in what looks like an attempt to further endear themselves to the snotty pieces of shit that regularly shop there. Empty elitism at its finest.
I know, I know, companies should be allowed to practice their businesses in any way that they want. Rah, rah America.
It really sucks that one of the first companies to come along in awhile to boast American-made clothing has to be this shitty.

The Mother Tongue

I already had a grudge against AA because they're trying to bring back high-waisted pleated pants with tapered legs.

But after reading this? No way one dime of my money will ever go to them.


Oh, boo, there's a Threadless t-shirt I've been wanting. Sorry, Threadless, I guess my closet is full enough. This - all of it - is grosser than gross.


Sadly, this doesn't surprise me one bit.

Sarah Lena

Their ads skeeve me out enough, and one of them featuring "mesh panties" popped up on a random Facebook page. OF MY STEPSON'S. WHO IS TEN.

I hate them as an entity prior to this. Now I loathe them and am gunning for them to be TAKEN DOWN.


If you're going to boycott American Apparel because of their hiring practices, are you also going to boycott Target, the Gap, and oh, PRETTY MUCH EVERY OTHER CLOTHING COMPANY EVER who outsource their production to foreign countries so they can pay slave wages to people working in sweatshops? I'm not defending AA here (they're obviously in the wrong), I just want to point out that there are a lot of ethical dilemmas involved in consumerism. Although I guess most of them don't involve Dov Charney's wang.

Jersey Diva Mom

Yep- it's official- my kids a re now going to sport head to toe Levi's, Hurley, DC and Quicksilver.

For God sake the surf shops have bikini models all over the walls and I'd rather take my son there to shop! At least they're selling bikinis and most are builty like surfer chicks not playboy shots.

Oh, and they're not skanky-There's that!


yuck, though not surprising

another company with questionable hiring practices? Lululemon - in an ad for an EA for the CEO of the Company "must be able to do the Grouse Grind in under 55 minutes" was listed as a job requirement, so I guess if you have a disability of any kind you are automatically disqualified


Ew. EW. EWWWW. That picture is so disgusting.

I used to waitress at a popular chain restaurant (this was 15 years ago...) and they had a hiring policy of "bar appeal". If you looked like someone you would want to "talk to" in a bar (HUGE EUPHEMISM) then they would be someone who would be considered for a position. If they didn't look like someone you would "talk to" then they might have a job in the kitchen, out of view. Nice.

Account Deleted

Gah! I really quite like their kids clothes. They were the only place I could find basic, single-coloured pants and shirts for my toddlers. But there's no way I'll be shopping there again. So, so skeevy.


I got an XL Red Stapler t-shirt through CafePress and I emailed to complain that they had sent me a CHILD's XL...but no, it was American Apparel.

Our cute little downtown area got an American Apparel store and every time I go by, I have to remind myself that I shouldn't throw a brick through their windows.


I've long been horrified by American Apparel's ad campaigns, so I could never bring myself to go into their stores. While browsing their online store I came to the conclusion that I believe most of their pieces are hideous anyway, so there was no remorse.

I would like to be all back-patty with myself and announce that I've never supported them with my dollars, but we buy threadless tees several times a year as a family; threadless started printing with AA shirts like three or four years ago.

Good thing there are lots of upstart independent designers on Etsy. Guess we'll be focusing on buying from them until threadless changes vendors. Too bad, because I've really liked their company ethos so far.


I shall knit everything my children wear.

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