Dov Charney is Out of American Apparel, and We Have Some Questions

June 19, 2014 • Fashion

In an effort to remain unbiased about this charming suave sir of fashion frocks, I will be so kind as to mute my joyful background music of Klaus Nomi’s “Ding Dong! the Witch is Dead” to provide you with the breaking news: Dov Charney is out of American Apparel, ousted by his board. According to the LA Times, Allan Mayer and David Danziger were appointed by the board as co-chairmen. Says Allan Mayer in the official press release:

“We take no joy in this, but the Board felt it was the right thing to do,” Allan Mayer said in the statement.  “Dov Charney created American Apparel, but the Company has grown much larger than any one individual and we are confident that its greatest days are still ahead.”

When reached by phone by a Times reporter Charney hung up.

This may come to a surprise for many, but those who have been morbidly following the fiscal health of the California-based brand would not be so surprised. Dov Charney was bad for business, and the sexist campaigns that are part of American Apparel’s brand image being so entwined with the directorial gaze of Charney himself did not help matters. While alleged sexual harassments were most of American Apparel’s headlines for the past few years, they’ve also:

  1. Been forced to sell $30.5 Million in Shares (Bloomberg)
  2. Declined 52 percent in market value, reaching its lowest closing price since Dec 14, 2011 (Bloomberg)
  3. Missed their SEC Filing Deadline
  4. Is in danger of being delisted by the New York Stock Exchange as a result
  5. Were noted by Brand Keys as one of the least engaged brands among consumers in a survey, right next to Kmart and Quiznos (WWD)
  6. Have endured a $270 million dollar net loss since 2010 (Bloomberg)

At face value, these are all terrible moments for any brand. And yet, American Apparel has still maintained some hold over consumers (or at the very least, the conversations amongst consumers). Despite all the shoddy PR disasters and shady dealings, and even with net losses, American Apparel sales were increasing year after year. Considering how small the company is in comparison to others — Lululemon for example, which runs $1 billion sales a year, or Abercrombie, at $4 billion — it has managed to stay paddling as each tide of mismanagement shook the company. But it seems that the straw has finally broken the camel’s back. It only took seven years.

Charney’s luck and hold seems to have finally loosened. Our question now is obvious: what’s next? Will someone tasteless still continue with the questionable brand ads that Charney became so known for? Will American Apparel try to “button up” to to speak, and revamp itself into a cheaper, dirtier Acne? What took so long? We might never get an answer to that last one, but for the others? We’ll have to wait and see. Fingers….crossed?

Photo via ABC News



  • Sarah Ashraf

    I went into AA last week for the first time in years. Seem’s like they’ve kind of moved away from simple basics? Or maybe my idea of basics is different than their target market. Didn’t end up buying anything, but I am glad that Charney is gone. I always appreciated that AA was made in America FWIW, but felt weird about the whole sexual harassment thing. Anyway I’ve always seen them more as a “hipper” Gap than anything like Acne.

  • So happy about this.

  • Disco Abe

    It felt really uncomfortable to me that AA sponsors so many female bloggers/writers/thinkers + rookiemag + petra collins art … and yet… DOV. I boycotted AA 6 years ago. Always an awkward subject with friends of mine who work at AA…. always a moment of discomfort when I see AA ads on Karley Sciortino’s blog (etc). This is such good news! Now can we go back to talking about how Terry Richardson’s work is pure garbage (technically speaking) and the only reason he is famous is for having the balls to be an unabashed predator?

    • i mean, when it comes to getting ya rent paid, sometimes you work for people you don’t like to survive. so i have sympathy for people who work there because it’s not like they’re bro-ing down with the guy. just because you work somewhere doesn’t mean they’re pals. you know? moneys money.

      • Disco Abe

        Yeah, true. I sympathize, but it is still a bummer. How can it not look like a vote of confidence in favor of the bill payer? Choices mean something even if the options are very limited.

        I once worked at Wells Fargo as a call auditor (most miserable job of the century) and wells fargo is beyond evil. I totally get it.

        On the other hand, as a survivor of multiple sexual assaults/date rape, every time I see his ads on the websites/art/blogs I love, it serves to remind that cultural amnesia runs deep. and it makes me sad.

        BUT! as you said, “ding dong the witch is dead”. fuck yeah. GTFO dov. good riddance.

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