As a teenage girl who grew up during the boom of American Apparel it’s hard for me to get over the legacy and the very disgusting taste left in my mouth by all of the sexual harassment and disturbing comments made by the founder who is also the creator of Los Angeles Apparel. It feels too much like a second chance that should really not be given to this man who I’ve intentionally left unnamed. The news of the tremendous coronavirus outbreak and the downplaying and outright denial by the founder of the company is terrible and kind of gives us a peek behind the curtain of this seemingly feigned care for the employees and their safety. In terms of sustainability, they should open up more and state whether or not the cotton they use is organic, where it’s grown, and who grows it. As for the manufacturing process, they are quite transparent and that is great. Something I like about the company a lot is that they are serious about keeping everything in the USA, an impressive achievement that I think should be applauded and followed as an example. They’ve also invested in carbon offsets that invest in waste management, reforestation, and energy efficiency which is a good supplement to their sustainable practices of maintaining all production with the country. The price tag of these jeans sits at $98, a little higher than a similar pair of Gap jeans that cost $80. I think the price is reasonable for a hip brand that pays its workers well and keeps all production within America.
The straight-leg high-waisted jeans are created with 100% American grown cotton. This is the only information provided and is very insufficient. Though it’s great that the cotton is grown in the USA and therefore travels less than if it was grown overseas, America is a large country; they should add the state. There is also nothing about whether or not the cotton is organic or not, and there is a big difference. Non-organic cotton has unfortunately been the norm in the fashion industry and uses up to 90% more water than organic cotton, and the pesticides used can cause pollution through runoff. Los Angeles Apparel also doesn’t share who harvests the cotton.
These jeans are made in the United States as all of the other Los Angeles Apparel products are. All of the dyeing and finishing of their textiles and garments are done in California. Their company is vertically integrated, meaning they control the manufacturing process from start to finish. They state that they rarely subcontract and never use off-shoring to ensure commitment to quality and their values of domestic production and minimal, if any, transporting of goods throughout the supply chain. They should add when and who they subcontract and why they cannot do those processes in-house. There are people who create the products that the owner has known for a decade, which hopefully points to low turnover due to good working conditions and wages. They have a collection of videos that show things from cotton blending to pocket sewing to garment drying. This collection is a neat way to show how the garments are made, but also to meet some of the people making the clothes you wear.
Los Angeles Apparel prides itself on being an American company that makes wearable, well-made products. The founder is the founder of the bankrupted American Apparel company that was a cult classic among young hipsters looking for edgy and basic fashion. He is also a man who has been accused countless, countless times of sexual harassment. American Apparel was a very controversial company for their provocative ethos and ads that were often of very young girls and borderline pornographic. All this to say that we can’t be too quick to forget the past as this man tries to open his second act and get things right the second time around, especially because of the obscene, disturbing things he’s been widely accused of. For this brand, it really does seem like a mix of old and new, with familiar basic, hip styles mixed with ethical practices. All of their workers start with a $20 wage, with experts potentially earning $35/hour with productivity bonuses. That being said, the company made news when at least 375 Los Angeles Apparel employees being infected with COVID-19 with four deaths. Something the company is dedicated to is keeping the American company American, with all garments made in the USA. The textile and yarn products used are also made in the USA, with more than half of their yarn consumption derived from domestic sources.