OK, American Apparel. I've had all I can stand and I can't stands no more. I'm sick of opening up my city's free weeklies and seeing some chick's ass in a houndstooth thong leotard all up in my face. I just want to find out what's going on in Cowtown this weekend. I don't want to see crack and pubes. At least not that early in the morning.
For the record, I've never entered an American Apparel store or spent any of my heard-earned money there. And, yes, this makes me feel morally superior. When AA first appeared in Cowtown several years ago, I admit I was mildly curious. What was this new store in town that sells gold lame hot pants and terrycloth wristbands? And why does their advertising showcase these outfits in a somewhat porny manner? Just who is American Apparel?
Then, I saw a show about AA and I was exposed for the first time to the man behind the lame and terrycloth: Dov Charney.
Now, I've mentioned Dov on this blog before—he was one of the illustrious 13 Biggest Douchebags of 2009 (congrats!), a title that I can tell you now he's going to maintain in 2010. The hammer is starting to come down on this guy, but let me first tell you why that will be so deliciously satisfying.
Dov refers to himself as a "hustler" and seems to fancy himself this visionary sultan of sleaze. He screws his employees. He hires "real people" who are (or look like) 12-year-olds to pose provocatively in neon spandex for ads. He's had about a gazillion sexual harassment suits filed against him. He regularly jacks off in front of his female employees and reporters. He peddles mesh jumpsuits. You get the idea...
Anyway, it's been known for years that AA requires wannabe-employees to submit photos with their applications—a head shot and a full body shot. They regularly turn down people who don't have the "right look" to work at AA. Which translates to: you won't be selling tie-dye lace bodysuits and purple velour rompers because you don't look like (a.) one of The Strokes, or (b.) a picture on a paedo's computer.
Gawker and Jezebel have been regularly reporting on the looksism going on behind the scenes at AA and the shit is really starting to hit the fan. Disgruntled former employees are coming out of the woodwork with internal documents that detail the rigid appearance standards Dov requires of his minions. Don't wear crop tops unless you're the width of a cocktail sword! Don't wear gladiator sandals! Do wear booties! Don't wax your eyebrows! Paint your nails day-glo orange! No nose rings! Etc., ad nauseum. (Based on their advertising, I'm curious about their stance on camel toe. Good or bad? Required??)
Even creepier, Dov requires each store to take a monthly group photo and send it to the higher-ups so they can monitor and judge what everyone looks like and what they're wearing and weed out those who are "off-brand."
The ironic thing about this whole sordid fiasco is that Dov himself is the very definition of "off-brand." He looks like a combination of photographer Terry Richardson (another notable creeper), a '70s-era porn star, Crazy Harry from The Muppet Show and the wad of hair I recently fished out of my bathtub drain. At what brand would this look be on?
I want this guy to go down. Immediately. People, stop buying basic tees at this hellhole. I know you think they're great, but do you really want your hard-earned dollars to support Mr. Hairy Crotchshot? Exploitation! Discrimination! Bad fashion! These are crimes we need to take seriously. For christ sakes, this is a store that includes John McEnroe shorts and fucking sateen Hammer pants as staples! I drove by there the other day and they had high-waist leggings on the mannequins in the windows. HIGH-WAIST LEGGINGS. Who would buy that?? Nobody in their right mind could possibly want to wear half this stuff, even i they were buying it for an early '90s-themed party.
Come on, y'all—please join me in a boycott of Dov and his hot-pink manties with green piping. I won't judge you if you've shopped at AA, but I will judge you if you went there because you just had to have a stretch floral lace mini-dress. If Color Me Badd isn't involved, that is off-brand everywhere.