Stephanie, how is American Apparel different to other high street brands?
Well, we’re completely sweatshop free. We don’t have any production in any countries other than the USA. Everything that we sell is created in one factory in L.A., which is the largest garment creation factory in Northern America with 4,000 employees, creating 50 million garments a year. Everyone is paid fairly, and in addition there are benefits for everyone in the factory, including healthcare for themselves and their family, and an onsite massage therapist.
We’ve always been a basics brand. We use organic cotton which is grown in America. 70% of our merchandise is cotton.
Not everyone realises that American Apparel is an ethical brand. People do often ask us why our prices are higher than some of the other high street brands, and we do often have to tell them its because we don’t exploit anyone, and that is why the prices are slightly higher. Generally people do react really well to it but younger people do sometimes complain because they don’t have the money but they want the product. You do pay more for the product, but it probably would last longer.
Who is your typical customer? Do they shop with their parents?
Our typical customer is aged from 12-30, quite a big age range. Quite a lot of them are shopping with their parents. There has been quite a boom recently in American Apparel’s popularity with the younger age group. It used to be more young professionals, but since we’ve started doing different colourways and prints, and crop styles for girls, it has boomed in the younger market, and yes, especially somewhere like Brighton, we get a lot of children coming in with their parents, who are happy to pay for it because it’s what their kids want right now.
What percentage of your customers are male?
At the moment, about 30%. It’s definitely female-heavy at the moment. At the moment, we attract an older guy than we do female, quite a classic guy I would say, someone who wears t-shirts, jeans – plain styles/stripes – classic cuts. We do have a new menswear designer in L.A., who is working to make a lot more relevant men’s styles, but predominantly at the moment, men shop with us for the basic styles: The cotton t-shirts, the underwear, the socks, hoodies, but we’re wanting to branch out a bit more now, going into more fashionable menswear rather than just basics.
How much is a man’s t-shirt and jeans?
T-shirts range from about £16 to about £30 depending on the material. Our jeans are really good quality denim. They are made to last. They are about £70-80 for men.