Ethical Textile Jobs: Does American Apparel Appeal to You?

by Fran Walker
Fashion School Review Columnist

February 11, 2006

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With more and more textile jobs outsourced to Asia, Dov Charney's American Apparel bucks the trend. Marketed as "sweat shop free," it offers an ethical and totally fashionable option for those who love hip and casual dress.

The Difficulty of Ethical Textile Jobs

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Textile jobs are traditionally poorly paid. In both the US and UK, more and more jobs are being outsourced to Asia -- hence the recent textile wars between China and the US. American Apparel produces fashion for young people, based on sixties and seventies casual trends, without outsourcing any of their jobs abroad and using a large percentage of recycled material. Most of the textile jobs in the 7 storey factory in LA belong to Latinos who are just as likely to wear the clothes as make them. They earn twice the normal wage for textile jobs.

Dov Charney's American Apparel -- Fashion Jobs Without Exploitation?

Dov Charney, CEO of American Apparel, and co-designer with colleague Merrily Lupo, has courted controversy in recent months over overtly sexual advertising, and alleged sexual harassment. While only time will tell with regards to his management practices, you cannot doubt his success where others fear to tread.

American Apparel is now a fashion empire, spreading stores and jobs throughout Europe. Its campaigns are edgy and sexy, using often untrained, ordinary people as models. Charney has no fashion training but posesses a real eye for business and a total finger on the casual fashion pulse. Whether you approve or not, American Apparel's fashion and jobs have hit the right nerve for many young consumers and workers alike.


About the Author
Fran Walker is a freelance writer, editor and researcher specializing in educational, health, safety and domestic issues. Previously, she spent five years in marketing in the self-help, health and health and safety sectors before leaving to start a family

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