Bankruptcies wreak real havoc on a brand.
That’s why when Gildan Activewear Inc. began a countdown on social media ahead of its Aug. 14 relaunch of American Apparel’s online shop many cheered the news. Others scratched their heads dumbfounded about the return of a brand that had seemingly closed for good while still others were more snide calling it “Canadian Apparel” in reference to where parent Gildan has headquarters.
Gildan, which acquired the firm’s intellectual property out of bankruptcy, relaunched American Apparel with many of the same basics customers know well utilizing its global workforce. The company, in hopes of squashing any backlash about taking the manufacturing out of Los Angeles, rolled out a Made in USA capsule that gives people the option of paying more to buy U.S.-made product.
American Apparel follows Nasty Gal, which began its transition under new ownership a bit earlier, after Boohoo.com PLC acquired its intellectual property earlier this year. Boohoo worked fast to buy up new inventory and create a new customer service team in the days following the close of its acquisition. It also had to fend off the sour taste left in the mouths of some consumers prior to the deal’s closing who were angry about lost customer credits or shipping delays during the liquidation period. Not only that, it took time to get the merchandise buys right.
Boohoo co-chief executive officer Carol Kane told WWD in May the business under its new parent appears to be hitting its stride with the wrinkles largely ironed out.
“I think they’ve got it,” she said of customers. “There will be customers who have gone to Nasty Gal looking for vintage and may not have found it, but then we’ve had some really good feedback from customers who have seen what we’re doing so far and they really like it.”
Meantime, the market’s still waiting on teen retailer Wet Seal, whose intellectual property was also sold out of bankruptcy to Gordon Brothers, has been teasing customers on its website of a new collection coming soon. Posts on social media bear the promise #werecomingback.