Before I dug deeper into the history of Los Angeles Apparel, I was greatly impressed with the quality of their products. Having worn a pair of Los Angeles Apparel’s 14Oz Heavy Fleece Sweatpants myself, I can say that the quality of their product is extremely high. However, the story of how Los Angeles Apparel came to be and company CEO Dov Charney’s notorious past changes my point of view on the company. While their production and manufacturing processes are sustainable, and they provide fair wages and safe working environments for their employees, I cannot rate them highly due to the multiple allegations against Dov Charney and the company’s practices.
On the product listing page, the materials listed are 100% cotton. Los Angeles Apparel sources most of their textiles and yarn domestically, although they do not provide details on where they are specifically getting their cotton. On their website, there is an image of a plastic-wrapped bundle of cotton labeled “Cotton USA,” however they should be more transparent and provide more details into their supply chain. Sourcing domestically is more environmentally (and often ethically) friendly due to reduced transportation costs and lack of off-shoring processes. On their website, they state that almost 100% of their production and shipping byproducts are recycled, and they are always looking for ways to reuse and create something new out of waste or old materials. While there is no evidence of this actually happening on their website, they do show videos of their workplace and are more transparent about their processes than other companies. They control their manufacturing processes and it is evident in their website that they care about creating safe and fair working conditions.
At the forefront of Los Angeles Apparel’s brand image is a commitment to fair wages and the support of immigrants. On their product listing page for this sweatshirt, there is a statement reading “Our experienced seamstresses earn an average up to $20 an hour or more and no less than $15. Plus benefits and overtime,” in addition to “This product is 100% Made in U.S.A. and NAFTA compliant.” On Los Angeles Apparel’s “Our Values” webpage, another statement explains that more experienced workers earn up to $35 an hour. In a video of their factory spaces, workers are shown sewing and cutting fabric in clean, spacious, and brightly lit workspaces. The price of the product is $74, which is extremely high for a sweatshirt. While the quality does warrant a higher price, $74 seems very high for the average consumer. Their transparency in the payment of their workers is the best that I’ve seen on any company’s website, however there are still improvements that could be made. During the coronavirus pandemic, the company faced several allegations of not following health protocols, and in response, the company posted statements and a video to their Instagram page, denying the allegations against them and revealing the steps they had taken to ensure safe working environments. As far as how their products are made, I think that Los Angeles Apparel is doing much better than competing companies.
Los Angeles Apparel was created by Dov Charney, whom if you do a quick google search, articles will show that he is a highly controversial individual. On the one hand, Charney is the culprit in numerous sexual assault allegations who also took his first company (American Apparel) to bankruptcy. Contrastingly, he’s also been known to personally advocate for immigrants, even going as far as both marching with his workers in support of immigration reform and providing amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Press articles addressing Charney’s past can be found on the Los Angeles Apparel website, showing that they aren’t trying to hide their true story. But in June 2020, during the coronavirus outbreak, Los Angeles Apparel was under fire for having over 300 positive cases and 4 deaths whilst they remained running as an essential service—producing face masks. Additionally, the company was accused of not following and not training their workers on health protocols related to the virus. Charney’s character has come into question what seems like an infinite number of times, whether it’s regarding the sexual assault allegations, yelling and bullying, or misuse of money and power. While he does have some focused values related to immigrant equality, Charney and his company are built on a messy history, and I can not give them a good rating in this category.