Originally posted this morning on BV Hair Talk.
The litany of complaints about American Apparel’s advertising and hiring policies are so long, we could write a book about them. The company is known for chic, trendy, affordable locally made clothes yes…but they’re also known for being sexist, judgmental, and discriminatory based on the aesthetic attractions of its owner, Dov Charney (who – let’s be honest. By his own standards of appearance, would he be welcome to work in his own store?)
If you want to work at American Apparel you’ve got to meet the criteria. You’ve got to have the right look. You’ve got to have a strong fashion sense. And if you’re black, you need to have the right style of hair. Several ex-employees recently wrote into Gawker about their experiences, and one former manager said she was told this about what types of black women to hire during the American Apparel’s open casting calls:
“Another former AA manager says that she received the following instructions as to what kind of black girls she should try to hire during the company’s open calls:
“none of the trashy kind that come in, we don’t want that. we’re not trying to sell our clothes to them. try to find some of these classy black girls, with nice hair, you know?”
i will remember that forever, especially the “nice hair” part. he was instructing another manager and i on who to look for during an upcoming open call, and i sat there dumbfounded, listening to him speak while the other manager made “uh huh, got it” sounds on her end of the phone. the other manager on the call with me later became a district manager, and at one point instructed me to tell two of my employees (both of whom happened to be black females) to stop straightening their hair. i refused to do this, but wondered if the mentality behind her request was related to what dov had said.”
A company discriminating in favor of black natural hair? Is “nice hair” the new “good hair”?? What does that even MEAN?
I’m not sure what to make of this news from American Apparel, so I’m just gonna keep doing what I do – which means not shopping at American Apparel. Which I couldn’t do anyway, because they don’t do plus size clothes, either. Ugh!
What are your thoughts on this latest American Apparel scandal?