Ugly American Apparel

How can you hate American Apparel?

That’s what an acquaintance of ours asked recently. “It’s just t-shirts, t-shirts can’t suck, they’re just t-shirts,” he maintained.

Something about it being overpriced, bland, and enshrouded in hipster mystique and social activism really pisses our pants off.

So then we were pleased as punch-drunk love to get Holly’s anti-American Apparel letter, especially because it advocates slave labor and child abuse.

Read it, after the jump…

Holly wrote a letter to American Apparel and posted it to her personal journal:

Dear American Apparel,

I have purchased three shirts from you. They were quite expensive as t-shirts go, but I paid your outrageous prices because I am a virtual giantess and yours is one of the few companies that makes long shirts (or at least, was at the time because I bought these shirts a while ago).

I would like to let you know that while I think it is admirable that you pay your workers a decent wage and provide them with humanitarian working conditions, I will probably in the future buy shirts that are not only cheaper, but made by small slave children. You see, of the three shirts that I purchased only one is still intact. The first of them (not to mention the most expensive one) started coming apart at the bottom seam the very first time I wore it. Then I had the misfortune to wash it. That little hem around the bottom is now but a distant memory. The second shirt lasted approximately three wears (and washes)longer; although on this shirt it is the seam on the left sleeve that has now departed.

I think maybe you don’t need to buy a group of children to make a better quality product, but instead perhaps just make your current workforce fear for their lives a little. Possibly removing any ventillation to the work area and providing severe beating for poor performance will do the trick.

I understand you may disagree with these sentiments, but my other, cheaper, shirts that are in all likelihood put together by children who were sold by their parents for a couple of bowls of rice have all lasted much longer than yours.


I thought that that would be the end of it, you know, one more consumer screwed by shoddy products.

To my great surprise I received a reply from a complete stranger:

Dear Holly.

You should forward your letter to our customer service people. Sounds like your shirts were from a bad batch… It’s unlikely that we will introduce draconian methods of quality control, but we might send you some new T-shirts.


Weronika Cwir
American Apparel

I visited Weronika’s journal to find this as her bio : I work for American Apparel and I created this account so that I can respond to livejournal entries about the company… What can I say, I am an American Apparel nerd. Hopefully this isn’t too good to be true. (I googled her name and she has several posts at the American Apparel site)

So I did as she said, with a brief explanation to the company that I don’t actually condone the abuse of small children. It occurs to me now that maybe I should have mentioned that I don’t want American Apparel to abuse their adult employees either, but what’s done is done. There are a few more details and pictures at my journal which is (an embarrassing)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Snowrunner says:

    Personally, all the AA T-shirts I bought where of excellent quality, heavier too than the stuff you find in other stores, and most important: They aren’t printed, just plain, which I like.

    As far as price goes: It’s not much more than you would pay for another decent t-shirt. As for the rest of their line: No comment, as I really think most of their stuff is rather boring.

  2. When are people going to get that a run-in with some bad product does not a company make? “My shirt fell apart, what a terrible company, I’ll never shop there again.” How stupid. Better to take the damned shirt back and get a replacement or your money (screw return policies; any reasonable company will take back an article that is clearly mismade) refunded and go about your business. If they sell you a lemon and then continue to screw you over, you have a right to get pissy. Until then, shut up.

  3. c dan says:

    Did the original poster ever contact AA about getting soem restitution for their faulty products? As consumers we have to take a *little* responsibility in getting what we want.

  4. Ray Wert says:

    it.goes.there — tell that to Ford, dude. My dad had a pretty bad Ford once, a station wagon that literally had the engine just stop while doing 55 mph on the highway 20 years ago — it led to 20 years of him calling Ford F.O.R.D. – Fix Or Repair Daily. It’s one of the major reasons companies (and in this case the analogy is a bit off, cause there’s a big difference between a $20,000 car and a $20 shirt) need to focus on quality control.

  5. Witty Username says:

    Just to reiterate what c dan said. I’ve had this happen to a couple of shirts that I bought from AA. I emailed their CSRs ( with pics of the faulty shirts and I got replacements within the week. Their CSRs were really nice and accommodating. I even got to keep the old shirts – and let’s face it, they use nice fabrics.
    However, AA are still sanctimonious twats.

  6. I don’t want to be a total dick, but is there no pleasing some people?? American apparel, in my opinion, is a rather incredible brand. Before they existed, my only option for getting non-silkscreened hooded sweatshirts and the like were Wal-mart and Target, whose stuff was cheap, but also shoddy, poorly dyed, shrunk terribly, and didn’t last very long. This is in additino to the fact that it was amde by 4 year olds in Malaysia.

    Then American Apparel comes along, sells these items in a variety of colors, very well made (I agree those were just a bad batch if anything), and well fitting. Very nice cotton also. And made by people on a living wage. So yeah, they’re a little mor ethan the Wal-mart crap in price- are you not willing to pay more for a better quality garment made without sweatshops? What do you want from them??

    PS- my girlfriend and I recently discovered that we both somehow had band t-shirts from the same band that had survived years of wear and abuse, where most of our other band shirts had fallen to the wayside. The reason these 2 particular shirts were still around and fit and comfortable: AA tshirts. I’m a big fan.

  7. Hey Witty Username, that “sanctimonious twats” comment really hurt! Ouch. It’s true we are a little earnest sometimes, but mostly we are a bunch of cheeky monkeys.

    BTW, we are going to put up on our website something about our school outreach program and I am thinking of running it with the headline “American Apparel Touches The Student Body.”

    Would that win us some more of your love? We do like to please.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I never knew that alcoholics made the shirts, but if they are drunk, that would explain why the shirts don’t fit. I so much prefer the weight and cut of Hanes Beefy Tees. Sure the colors are pretty, but I would rather just go to a paint store and collect paint swatches rather than have a closet full of pretty shirts that choke and constrict my freedom of movement. I am not fat, I just like to feel air between my clothes and myself. I refuse to knowingly purchase the undersized chokewear. Some silkscreeners try to hide the brand with another tag, but you can always tell. I guess my comment is a little late, but people are still pushing this crap on Tshirt wearers.

  9. Anomalous says:

    I’m not much of a hipster so I may not understand the strategy being used, but what’s up with American Apparel’s vomit-inducing ads all over the net? Maybe they would be more competitive if they weren’t spending so much money trying to promote such ugly and ridiculous clothes. Plus I’ve picked up hookers on the Virginia interstate that are prettier than some of their makeup-less models.

    Don’t get me wrong; I like the idea of good fabrics and a well paid worker, but someone needs to punch their advertising directors in the face or finger their daughters. You can’t make any money promoting something no one would wear (not that I would be caught dead outside my parents’ basement wearing anything but my favorite Darth Vader costume).