2014 was a turbulent year for American Apparel. The American fashion retailer said goodbye to its controversial founder Dov Charney following accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct. Paula Schneider replaced him, the ideal candidate who brings a successful background in design, merchandising, sales and finance to the job.
With a new CEO, comes a new vision, and in Schneider’s first interview with Bloomberg Business’s Matt Townsend, Schneider highlighted her intentions to move away the brand away from its sexual, suggestive image, while still staying true to its edgy persona. Schneider stated,”There’s a way to tell our story where it’s not offensive”.
The changes will come as a shock to consumers, as the company is famous for launching risqué campaigns, the most recent being its ‘Back to School’ campaign September 2014. The advertisement showed a model bent over to reveal her underwear and was quickly banned by watchdogs for ‘sexualising’ schoolgirls.
The new CEO will avoid controversial commercials, in an attempt to create a wider market audience. Rather than showing flesh to boost sales, the company will focus on topical issues such as bullying and Gay marriage. Consumers that grew up wearing American Apparel will be targeted, as the demographic will expand to include consumers in their mid 30’s, not just millennial youths.
In keeping with Schneider’s disciplined marketing strategies, the brand will distance itself from its controversial ‘voyeuristic’ reputation and reconnect with its more wholesome beginnings. This is evidential with the brand’s spring campaign which will focus on its top 100 styles. These simple styles are the root of American Apparel’s success, with 75% of the company’s sales attributed from its 600 basic products. With this, Schneider will be able to focus her efforts on the brand’s ethics, with the cotton t-shirts and scarves that financially push the company.
“My goal is to make American Apparel a better company, while staying true to its core values of quality and creativity and preserving its sweatshop-free, Made in USA manufacturing philosophy,” Schneider commented.