Marketing Without Vision and the Death of American Apparel

We love watching Dov Charney finally get his come-uppings as the most depraved CEO ever to sexually harass his staff, but more joy comes from proof of what we’ve all been feeling for a long time: American Apparel’s advertising sucks.

Sure, the provocative photos seemed edgy, a bit, in 2003. But when you consider that Calvin Klein had already been pushing the amateur porn trope years earlier, Charney’s in-house photo spreads, often shot by the CEO himself, seem hackneyed, at best.

While the brand started with some enlightened ideas — made in America, anti sweatshop, gay friendly — it was never a true fashion house. AA followed its basic, comfy T-shirt with tacky, retro ugliness that could never be more than a fad — oversized glasses, leotards, and leg warmers.

American Apparel’s imagination void is most obvious when you consider its stagnant and stale marketing. Pictures of half clad young people in prurient poses are fine, but for more than a decade, that’s all we got.

It’s well documented that Dov Charney is a sex addicted lothario, but after losing money for four straight years and a stock trading for pennies, the real question is for AA’s board of directors: What the hell is your excuse?

Marketing Without Vision and the Death of American Apparel