American Apparel itself wants to be seen as a stylish, no-factory, domestically made brand, inferring from its headline “Fashionable Basics. Sweatshop Free. Made in USA.” The company also wants to be seen as a socially and environmentally conscious brand that sells high quality knitwear with a simple design aesthetic.
American Apparel will continue to target a large, diverse market of young urbanites that see themselves as unique instead of as part of a generic, mainstream fashion culture. By highlighting a diverse offering of classic fashion pieces in a variety of unique colours, cuts and styles, American Apparel offers a fashionable alternative to the same-old department store look.
Additionally, it also wants to be perceived as a versatile and stylish brand for everyone everyday, that anyone can attain the American Apparel look of ingenuousness.
5 Examples of the Brand’s Visual Expression
American Apparel is famous for producing basic, solid-colour cotton knitwear such as t-shirts and underwear, but lately has expanded—to include leggings, leotards, tank tops, vintage clothing, dresses, pants, denim, nail polish, bedding and accessories for men, women, children, babies and pets in various prints and colours. Their garments have no logos or ornamentation, not a single flourish or bauble. Distinction comes from an array of colours that now includes fluorescents and from slim to sexy cuts that attract young buyers and allow the humble cotton garments to serve as something greater—core elements of a fashion wardrobe.
American Apparel prides itself in covering a large number of products and styles, from basic t-shirts to deep v-neck dresses. The large coverage demands visual distinction, to make the consumer’s choice easy, all while upholding the company’s brand positioning.
American Apparel’s products would definitely be firstly described as products with a design aesthetic that is artless. Still, the brand has found ways to appeal to style conscious consumers without sacrificing its core ethical brand equity. In fact, they have actually strengthened their message of “social consciousness” while attracting new consumers.
The brand, without deviating too far from its casual and classic offerings, tries to push to be more edgy or chic in other products while still remaining definitive. In this way, American Apparel can constantly introduce new styles and new collections to add to their ever-expanding product line. These visually appealing offers, in turn, help communicate that the company is willing to adapt to trends and keep up with modern styles, while sustaining its spontaneous and nifty touch.
The entire collection of products shows the brand’s capability in following fashion trends as well as adapting styles for the common man. Most importantly, since their launch, their style has remained consistent, ensuring that American Apparel’s products will visually reflect to the brand image, adding to brand credibility and enforcing the brand position.
In an effort to display the company’s social consciousness, American Apparel embarked on two particular movements, Legalize Gay and Legalize LA. Utilizing their position as a mass producer of apparel and accessories, as a platform for change, the company shows an awareness of social problems. American Apparel uses their products to express their beliefs.
Legalize Gay is a movement launched by American Apparel to demonstrate their encouragement for equality in sexuality, without gender discrimination. Developing their product line, American Apparel produced several t-shirts, tank-tops and underwear with the slogans ‘GAY O.K.’ and ‘Legalize Gay”.
Visually, what this communicates is two-pronged—it shows that American Apparel is socially responsible and is willing to commit to and endorse the movement, painting the company in a positive light and also shows an ability to push the company’s agenda and being very vocal about...