“….Charney, who is 37, originally made a name for himself as a designer and wholesaler of artisanal T-shirts made from softer, more finely knitted cotton than the commercial standard and cut for a snug, body-accentuating fit. (Alex Kuczynski, the Critical Shopper columnist for The New York Times, has written that they are “as close to the Platonic ideal of T-shirt as you can get.”) In the past few years, however, he has become a peculiar sort of retail king. In the summer of 2003, when Charney rented a storefront gallery in Echo Park for an exhibit of photographs taken by his friend Luca Pizzaroni, it only occurred to him as an afterthought to offer some T-shirts for sale as well. The next day, when he discovered that he had rung up $1,500 in sales, he began signing more leases in hip neighborhoods in other cities. As of January, Charney had established more than 110 American Apparel stores in Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Seoul, Tokyo and Tel Aviv, with plans to open another 40 by year’s end. Sales of American Apparel goods in 2005 totaled approximately $250 million, and the company’s L.A. factory, which now employs more than 3,500 people and turns out more than 9,000 separate items, is the single largest garment factory in the United States…”
And You Thought Abercrombie & Fitch Was Pushing It?
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