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Breaking: American Apparel Fires Creative Director Iris Alonzo (Again)

On Thursday, the Dov Charney supporter and longtime employee was let go for the second time in less than a year.
Photo: Scott Oslon for Getty Images/News

Photo: Scott Oslon for Getty Images/News

On Thursday, American Apparel once again fired Iris Alonzo. The creative director, who worked under founder Dov Charney for more than a decade and has openly supported him in the press, was originally dismissed in the summer of 2014, only to be rehired in October of that year. At the time of her return, American Apparel released a statement citing Alonzo's "long-standing commitment to the core principles which the company was founded on- ethical manufacturing, innovation within the apparel industry, authenticity, creativity and integrity,"  as well as her "deep knowledge of our culture and brand, which dates back to our retail inception in 2004."

In less than five months, things have changed. According to people within the company who asked to remain anonymous for this story, Alonzo was interrupted during a meeting on Thursday by a human resources representative, who then told her she was fired. Alonzo was also told that she would receive no severance, and she was given no reason for her dismissal. 

Alonzo's ousting comes just three months after the American Apparel board appointed retail vet Paula Schneider as ceo. This was on the heels of Dov Charney's final, real firing from the company. (Charney, under investigation for misconduct, was originally let go in June 2014 but had, for some months, been serving as a sort of advisor to the brand. He certainly had something to do with Alonzo's reinstatement in October.)

Internally, Alonzo has been vocal about the company's decision to cut back the hours of factory workers. Some insiders speculated that the dismissal had something to do with her pushback. But another source close to the matter insisted that this was untrue, and that Alonzo's departure was about the company's creative direction. ("It doesn't have to be overtly sexual," Schneider told Bloomberg in early February.) However, there is a sense of fear among veteran employees that no job is safe -- and that American Apparel's future will look nothing like its past. Without Alonzo, "It's going to turn into the Gap," said the source.

Update: Fashionista has learned that Marsha Brady, American Apparel's other longtime creative director, has also been fired. Brady, unlike Alonzo, was kept on last summer after Charney's June ousting. 

A spokesperson for American Apparel declined to comment for this article.

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