Mad About American Apparel's Hiring Practices? Call Dov!
Once upon a time there was so much to love about American Apparel. Well, there was the seemingly sweatshop-free cotton goods, and the... oh maybe that was it. Well, after years of accusations of sexual harassment and often over-the-line creepy porny advertising, American Apparel is, of course, being accused of discrimination in hiring. Shockingly, Dov Charney and company are said to hire store employees based on beauty and this is evidenced in former employee testimonial and the company's requirement for job applicants to submit a full body photo with their application. Sigh.
Initially, there was something kind of appealing about American Apparel's outward and explicit sexuality - possibly because it is so totally opposite to the co-operative culture at Come As You Are. Come As You Are is all about boundaries. My favourite CAYA inside jokes are about our parties ending promptly at 9:30PM before anything inappropriate could possibly happen, and about how we tend to wave at each other more than we hug or shake hands. Well, sometimes we high-five too! We're really not into the professional come on.
American Apparel says that they hire based on personal style and that's not discriminatory. I'd like to think that labour policy works a little differently in Canada (and I'm probably mostly wrong in my idealism here) but it strikes me that what AA does is perfectly compatible with how labour rights and anti-discrimination works in the US. That is, how does Hooters even exist in the face of anti-discrimination law? If Hooters is any indication, AA is merely typical in their hiring practices.
In a press release, AA gave our CEO's Dov Charney's phone number, but there is no answer and voicemail doesn't work, but I would keep trying. The conversation to be had could be awesome. Ultimately, I don't think AA thinks there's anything wrong with how they do business and they probably think they're actually groundbreaking in making sex part of their corporate culture, but really, they're actually just reverting to the model we're all trying so hard to break.
Be sure to check out the American Able ad series Jes Sachse did a little while back.