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It seems that the inevitable has finally happened. American Apparel (which was recently purchased by Gildan Activewear for $88 million) will be shuttering all of its 110 stateside retail locations, along with its distribution center in La Mirada, California and production facilities in Garden Grove and South Gate, according to the Los Angeles Times. (Gildan had exclusively paid for the Los Angeles-based brand's intellectual property and a portion of its manufacturing facilities.) What does that mean for the factories' nearly 3,500 employees (plus retail staffers nationwide)? Well, let's just say that there's essentially no more need for anyone to sew all those "Made in U.S.A. — Sweatshop Free" labels.
The brand rose to immense popularity during the mid-2000s with its range of upscale (yet accessible) basics and provocative imagery, yet had been struggling in recent years to stay afloat, having filed for bankruptcy twice in a period of two years. And despite bringing on a new CEO in 2014 (who exited the company last September), it wasn't enough to reverse constantly lagging sales, store closures and lingering bad PR surrounding allegations of sexual harassment against founder Dov Charney. As Gildan spokesman Garry Bell said to the Los Angeles Times, "This was always about buying assets out of bankruptcy. The reality is this wasn't a purchase of an ongoing concern."
Update, Jan. 17: The layoffs have begun. According to WWD, a whopping 2,400 jobs were cut on Monday and the status of another 1,000 are still being determined. Former employees were instructed to line up outside of the company's downtown Los Angeles factory to receive their final checks; ousted founder Dov Charney even turned up to recruit a few workers for his new T-shirt project, though nowhere near enough to employ all of those who are now without jobs.