An Open FUCK YOU to American Apparel

I never felt great about supporting you American Apparel. Let’s face it, you’ve had a storied history with a creepy founder who sexually harassed  women employees and trouble with allowing unionization in your so-called textile worker friendly business. But, I’m not going to lie. I loved your clothes. They were soft, and cut nice and had great colors. I own over 30 shirts produced by your brand. I’ve bought three “Legalize Gay” shirts. I touted you guys to friends, and got others hooked. It was the kind of word of mouth promotion that corporations love; free, personal endorsements. I moved product and converted others because, despite some questionable practices, I was happy to spend good money on quality clothing that was also made in the United States.

from her website http://www.fattyd.com (NSFW)

But you’ve slipped some bullshit by me. In 2010, adult film star and beautiful goddess April Flores (note, this link is NSFW) approached your company about a line of clothing for bigger ladies. You wonderfully blew her off stating, in paraphrase, that your company wasn’t interested in catering to that market. Honestly, if I had known that then, I would have walked on it. I was probably too busy watching Flores reclaim the definition of beauty and disrupting the hetero-normative, male centric, white, straight sexual paradigm with fury, vengeance and beauty. The fact that you couldn’t get on board with such an amazing artist, activist and feminist is appalling, especially since you have never shied away from the adult industry before. After all, your adds mimic softcore pornography and you embraced Sasha Grey at the height of her adult film career to sell socks. I admire the shit out of Sasha Grey, too. And I thought that was a bold move on your part, to sell sex with such an articulate, challenging actress. The dynamic was awesome and powerful. But I wonder what she thinks of you snubbing Flores because she doesn’t fit in to your companies ideal of what beauty is. And just so we are clear, American Apparel, April Flores is stunning. She has a charm, personality and playfulness about her being that makes the pale, pasty, kids you normally depict looking starved and fucked up even more pathetic.

It seems the backlash you all received for this triggered change. I was very, very happy about this. You decided to introduce plus sizes for women into your catalog, creating cuts for more body types. This is was actually awesome news. A company, that is fashionable and functional, finally embracing the broad spectrum of what beauty is. And then, you kinda mis-stepped.  And honestly, when I heard about your campaign to find the next American Apparel model to sell your plus sizes, I gave you another pass. You utilized poor language in looking for “the next BIG thing”. It was insensitive word play. That should be pretty obvious by now. But you know what, not the worst thing you could have done. Language is tricky and word play can get you in trouble sometimes. It was dumb, clearly it was dumb.

Enter Nancy Upton. This awesome, 24-year-old Texas lady wasn’t to psyched on your ad campaign and talent search. So she decided to make a statement, entering the contest, posting in provocative(and often very beautiful) shots that included food. Not healthy food that we should all indulge in, but the kind of fat, gross, high calorie, low healthy nonsense us American’s shovel down with rapidity. Upton wanted to make a statement and she did. She also won your contest. Which honestly isn’t a surprise. I voted for her myself, because I felt like she created the kind of open and honest dialog this country needs when it talks about health, and body image, especially where women are concerned, and beauty. I also thought utilizing your platform, in contrast with your linguistic blunders was totally appropriate.

Up to this point, you and I were still cool American Apparel. It seemed like you were gonna take your lick with grace. I realized that obviously, Upton wouldn’t be your model and I didn’t even expect you to open a positive dialog with her about the project, your future ad campaigns or any of these issues. That wouldn’t have bothered me either. Upton’s activism was enough in my opinion to at least create some kind of public discourse. I wish the story of Flores had flourished a year ago like this one, because as much as I admire Upton, I think additional factors made the Flores debacle less succulent for blogs and press outside of queer porn bloggers and the adult industry. People didn’t want to touch it because it’s hard for the public to believe that a woman of Flores’s stature could be a porn star. Oh and also, porn is still taboo in this fucked up culture.

So why did your creative director Iris Alonzo have to write that open letter to Nancy Upton? I realize since then that you have reached out to Nancy and are making a modest, if less than humble attempt, to meet with her and continue this discussion. But seriously, I just can’t take the bullshit in this letter from you. It’s more corporate double speak trying so hard to evade responsibility for being stupid. And you’re not even fucking BP or Coca Cola or one of the other millions of shitty, unethical, violent, corrupt companies that exist. You aren’t perfect as an organization and a participant in capitalism, but you are so much better than this letter. So much better. You could have humbly taken the shot, recognized your mistakes, reached out to Upton and the public and your loyal customers and maybe even increased the dialog. You had an opportunity to make the real changes in the industry this letter states you desire to do, and instead you acted like an insulted politician and lashed out. And that was it for me.

Whatever becomes of this campaign, this debacle with Upton and the rest of your company no longer concerns me. I can no longer, in good conscience continue buying your products, recommending your company or associating myself with you any further. I’m not happy about this at all, either. But if you refuse to take corporate responsibility and be humbled by negative reactions from the public when they have a fucking point, then you are no better than your competitors and the other mongrels that are only concerned about profit margins. I will not use your products in my personal life, for any band or creative project or extol the softness and warm feeling I once received from putting on an American Apparel shirt nearly every day of my life. It’s over between us American Apparel.

Sincerely,

Erik Gamlem

Please Note: The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author alone. They do not necessarily represent the views of  the other writers or staff here at Error Vizion. This opinion piece was written by Erik Gamlem without prior consultation with the other members of Error Vizion. If you have some hate you want to rock, direct it at him. He’s a big boy, both literally and figuratively, he can take it.

2011 CC Halloween Shirt

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Halloween is by far my favorite holiday.  This has been a real big year for the label (the only year, but that’s ok).  I wanted to celebrate this evil, tooth decaying holiday and rep my hood a little at the same time. 

Ringspun cotton-limited to 32 pieces-sizes youth large through extra large.

These damned garments will be in my hands October 7 th.  Get in touch. 

Ian over and out.

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A-Morir 2011 line preview with Kerin Rose

So, this video was meant to go up many moons ago, but, due to circumstances of life, is just now creeping into view.

I (not so) recently sat down with my talented, eyewear designer friend, Kerin Rose, to talk a bit about some of the pieces from her new line. While the lunch was phenomenal, getting a chance to hear the lady behind style pieces for everyone from Rihanna, to Lady Gaga, to even Debbie Harry, sit down and talk a bit about her craft, was an un-matched feast. I won’t waste time with words here. Instead, I will say, if you are uninitiated with Kerin’s work, take the rite: A-Morir

And, in while I have your attention, do steep some tea, and curl up with this video.