NEW YORK, NY — It’s officially too late to hit the fire sale at your local American Apparel. After a long, slow death — during which the iconic hipster chain’s entire clothing stock was placed on deeper and deeper discount, until all the basic Ts and high-waisted crap we used to vastly overpay for were selling for 80 to 90 percent off (FML) — the dozen or so American Apparel locations remaining in NYC apparently closed for good Wednesday night.
No one was picking up the phone at any of the stores Thursday — one in Harlem, six in the Midtown Manhattan vicinity, one in Union Square, one in Soho, one in Park Slope, one in Brooklyn Heights and one in Cobble Hill.
A crowdsourced obituary of sorts compiled by New York Magazine showed many of the former NYC locations now empty of all merchandise (and 20-somethings), with “CLOSED” signs taped to their front doors.
We reached out to the chain’s corporate headquarters Thursday, just to make sure there wasn’t maybe one stray leotard still out there somewhere, but we didn’t hear back.
We did notice this, though, on their website.
The American Apparel brand was launched in Los Angeles around two decades ago by Dov Charney, to much success. Over the past few years, though, Charney suffered a fall from grace — and an ousting from his own company — when a bunch of scandalously young American Apparel models and store employees sued him for sexual harassment. (And who could doubt them, after seeing that video of Charney dancing buck naked around his office as a few on-hand hipster chicks laughed nervously in the background?)
The company, once a billion-dollar empire that popularized the “made in America” promise and defined the aesthetic of a generation, filed for bankruptcy soon after Charney left — possibly also due to a slew of alleged labor violations, and a stagnant business model that some economists felt didn’t keep up with the times.
The little that remains of American Apparel was purchased in January by Gildan Activewear for $88 million. No one’s quite sure what its new corporate overlords will do with it — but its NYC storefronts, at least, are goners.
End of an era, for sure, if a somewhat overpriced and sexually exploitative one.