Optionally, local products are offered at a premium price point. Our most popular locally produced t-shirts are made by American Apparel, but other options are also available. Since the t-shirts are printed in the United States, our products branded “local” must be 100% made in the USA.
American Apparel is an American textile company manufacturing all its products in its factory in Los Angeles, refusing the use of sweatshops.
American Apparel – Labor standards
American Apparel pays its manufacturing employees an average of $12 per hour. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the average factory worker at the company makes $80–120 per day, or roughly $500 per week compared to the $30–40 made daily at most other Los Angeles-based garment factories. Employees also receive benefits such as paid time off, health care, company-subsidized lunches, bus passes, free English as additional language classes, on-site massage therapists, free bicycles and on-site bike mechanics, free parking in addition to the proper lighting and ventilation. Every floor of the factory includes free telephones where workers can make and receive long-distance phone calls.
In previous years the waiting list for employment at American Apparel has had over 2,000 names on it. The company now however is actively looking for staff following an investigation by US immigration that found that 1,500 of its workers lacked the legal immigration documents and were subsequently dismissed.
To learn more about American Apparel’s working conditions, please check the following links:
American Apparel’s pro-immigration stance
As early as 2001, American Apparel has been a vocal advocate for the reform of U.S. immigration laws. On May 1, 2002, American Apparel shut down its factory to allow the company’s workers, many of whom are immigrants, to participate in a pro-immigration rally in downtown Los Angeles. Dov Charney, a Canadian, also marched alongside the workers. American Apparel participates annually in the May 1st Immigration March and Rally in downtown Los Angeles. In 2008, they added a route from their factory that eventually connected with other supporters near the city hall. The company’s politics were eventually spun off into the Legalize LA advertising campaign.
In 2009, an ICE audit of American Apparel’s employment records uncovered discrepancies in the documentation of about 25% of the company’s workers, implying mainly that they were undocumented immigrants. About 1,500 workers were let go in September of that year as a result. American Apparel responded with questions of the effectiveness of such an action and said “the firings will not help the economy, will not make us safer. No matter how we choose to define or label them [undocumented immigrants] are hard-working, taxpaying workers.”
In 2009, the company had a “Justice for Immigrants” factory sale in Los Angeles – the proceeds of which benefited organizations such as the Casa Libre Immigrant Children’s Homeless Youth Shelter, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Reform of Los Angeles, Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, and the National Day Laborers Organizing Network
American Apparel’s Environmental policies
The company depends on environmentally friendly practices and is known for its innovations in sustainability due to vertical integration. American Apparel manufacturing system is designed around the concept of “Creative Reuse” — which converts excess fabric from one garment template into several additional garments such as bathing suit tops, belts, headbands, bows, bras, underwear, and children’s clothing. This otherwise wasted material reduces the amount of fabric the company needs to produce in addition to expanding its product line and saves approximately 30,000 pounds of cotton per week.
American Apparel maintains a bicycle lending program for its employees and according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), it is a vegan-friendly clothing company. As of 2007, the company planned to increase its use of organic cotton within the next four years from over 20% to 80%. American Apparel also sells a line of shirts under the “Sustainable” label that are 100% USDA organic cotton. In 2008, American Apparel purchased over 30,000 pounds of organic cotton known as B.A.S.I.C cotton.
American Apparel installed a 146-kilowatt solar electric system on its factory roof, designed to reduce power costs by at least 20%. These panels power as much as 30% of the factory. The company also recycles its fabric scraps.
American Apparel’s Philanthropy
In 2005, the company hosted a car wash benefit with the American Red Cross to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, they packaged and delivered 80,000 shirts to the relief effort in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. As an underwriter of Farm Aid, American Apparel donates the blank shirts that the organization prints and sells as merchandise. In 2007, right before Christmas, American Apparel donated more than 300,000 articles of clothing, with the giveaway specifically targeting the homeless population of large cities. In 2009, the company had a “Justice for Immigrants” factory sale in Los Angeles – the proceeds of which benefited organizations such as the Casa Libre Immigrant Children’s Homeless Youth Shelter, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Reform of Los Angeles, Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, and the National Day Laborers Organizing Network
American Apparel also donated more than $400,000 worth of garments to the victims of the Haitian earthquake through Fashion Delivers as well as over 5,000 pairs of socks to the shoe charity Soles4Souls.
American Apparel and the LGBTQ+ community
In addition to participating in a variety of immigration protests, the company launched an advertising and advocacy campaign called “Legalize LA”. The campaign featured advertisements in national papers like The New York Times as well as billboards, T-shirts, bus ads, and posters. The company also maintains a Legalize LA portion of their website that features news articles relating to immigration reform, the brand, and information on the history of the issue.
After the passing of Prop 8 (which defines marriage in the state as one man and one woman) in California in November 2008, American Apparel launched the Legalize Gay campaign. It is similar to the Legalize LA campaign, and shirts with “Legalize Gay” and “Repeal Prop 8” printed on them in the same style as the shirts of Legalize LA are sold by the company.
In June 2012 American Apparel partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in releasing a new line of T-shirts to celebrate LGBT Pride Month. 15% of the net sales of the shirts were donated to GLAAD. Isis King modeled for this line, becoming American Apparel’s first openly transgender model. In the summer of 2013, American Apparel announced its desire for more “transexy” models. In 2013, American Apparel was named one of TheStreet.com’s “8 Pro-Gay Companies.”
Sources: Wikipedia & official website
- Ethical Guidelines – Manufacturer’s Code of Conduct and working conditions
- Fair labor certifications
- Eco-responsibility, environment-friendly practices and use of non-chemical inks
- Advantages of our 100% organic t-shirts (PETA Approved Vegan)
- Origin of our fair trade certified cotton
- Why are we boycotting Uzbekistan Cotton?
- Where are the t-shirts printed and produced?
- Information on locally produced t-shirts
- Browse our “local t-shirts” section