After Canadian company Gildan Activewear bought the American Apparel brand and the company’s assets in a bankruptcy auction, it said it would likely move some manufacturing outside of the U.S., in a big step away from the company’s founding mission. But the brand is back online now, and it’s offering shoppers a choice: Buy “Made in the USA” clothing, or shell out a few bucks less for identical “Globally Made” items.
In May, Gildan announced that it was lining up outside companies to make clothes in the U.S. as part of a plan to sell both U.S.-made and foreign-made merchandise. Executives said at the time that the website would eventually return and offer customers the choice to buy American Apparel merchandise that was made in the U.S. or made abroad, with a price difference of about 25%.
Back in action
As of yesterday, AmericanApparel.com is back in business. In addition to an assortment of basics like T-shirts, shorts, and dresses — which are not made domestically — the new American Apparel offers a collection of eight styles that are manufactured stateside, and “have a globally made twin.”
While both are sweatshop-free and ethically made, they’re different in price. For example, the Made in USA fleece hoodie is $48, while the Globally Made twin is just $38.
Although it might seem somewhat odd for a company to seemingly undercut own brand, Gildan knows people outside this country don’t really care where the clothing is actually made.
“A lot of the growth that we will have with American Apparel will come from other markets outside the United States,” CEO Glenn Chamandy said in May, citing Europe and Asia as examples of markets where Gildan plans to take the brand, and where “Made in USA” is less of a priority.
While American Apparel is back online, it’s unlikely you’ll see physical stores popping up any time soon. Gildan had the chance to buy American Apparel’s retail locations when it purchased the brand and assets, but it didn’t.
“There are no plans for stores at this very moment, but we continue to evaluate all kinds of opportunities to bring this brand to more consumers globally,” a spokesperson for Gildan told Consumerist, noting that the company’s focus at the moment is on servicing the e-commerce store and wholesale business.
It’s worth noting that Gildan isn’t alone in offering shoppers a choice when it comes to how much they pay for items. Online-only retailer Everlane has a “Choose What You Pay” collection that features items with three different price points:
The cheapest price means 10% of what you pay goes to Everlane to cover costs for development and shipping to the warehouse; the middle price translates to a 20% cut for Everlane and covers the same as the lower tier, plus overhead to pay the company’s workers; and the most expensive price gives Everlane 30%, covers the same costs as the lower tiers, and also allows the brand to work on creating new products.