American Apparel History
1989 Dov Charney of Montreal sold T-shirts under the name American Apparel while learning the trade in South Carolina.
1997 Dov moved to Los Angeles where he stayed with Rick Klotz, owner of Fresh Jive, and revives his American Apparel company.
1998 Dov teams up with Sam Lim as his business partner. Together they develop a fashionable Baby Rib Basic Tee for women. Soon the Classic Girl line is born, offering a wide variety of styles.
Their new factory was located underneath the #10 Freeway on Santa Fe Avenue in Los Angeles. Nearby was the Playpen, a neighbourhood stripbar, where Dov and his designers would fit their T-shirts on exotic dancers, rather than hiring expensive models.
1999 A Canadian distribution centre opened in Montreal for the Canadian market.
2001 The line captures the imagination of the US market and sales double.
2002 The sewing department was organized into circles of teams with related skills to maximize time and efficiency, rather than working in the typical assembly line operation. They contract with Oklahoma-based Environmental Textiles to recycle all of American Apparel's cutting and fibre scraps. Sales again double from the previous year.
2003 Manufacturing is augmented with the establishment of a retail chain with test stores opening in Los Angeles and New York City and meet with instant success. The company starts using 100% USDA Organic Cotton and begin producing a line of T-shirts called the Sustainable Edition. Again, sales double from the previous year.
2004 The number of employees has doubled over the past year as well as the sales. American Apparel revenues have doubled each year over the past 3 years. The Ad Specialty Institute (ASI) Fastest Growing Supplier is awarded for the third consecutive year, and also receives the 2004 California Fit Business Award.
The retail chain expands to over 30 stores operating worldwide, including five in Montreal and one in Toronto. A store is expected to open in Vancouver in 2005.