Unemployed Hipsters Line Up for Chance to Work for American Apparel
Channee Kann, a student, waits in line outside an American Apparel store December 4, 2008 in New York City. While unemployment in Manhattan is sharply up, American Apparel has been holding bi-weekly open calls for jobs at the youth oriented clothing store. Sales increased 6% for the month of November 2008 at American Apparel stores compared to November last year. (Getty Images)more pics »When the economy turns rough, you discover your degree in Anthropological Philosophy (with a minor in Philosophical Anthropology) from Sarah Lawrence is worth bupkis, and your $950 rent is coming due, there's got to be somewhere for a fashionable young person to turn. Luckily American Apparel, purveyor of non-sweatshop hoodies, t-shirts, and super short shorts for dudes, is holding open calls to work in their stores.
The LA-based company is booming when nearly every other retailer is plunging. The company reported that sales were up by six percent in November compared to November of last year. Meanwhile, nearly every other retailer in the country is saying that their own November sales are way, way down. J.C. Penney, Nordstrom's and the Gap, for instance, all reported sales drops of at least 10 percent.
Still, while the company may be doing well, there may be some drawbacks. The company's founder and CEO, Dov Charney, has been forced to settle out of court with four seperate sexual harassment suits, with a fifth one still pending.
The company is also known for it's very provocative, pseudo-porny advertising campaigns, which usually feature very young women in about one article of American Apparel and not much else. The company recently garnered further controversy by running a series of banner ads on websites that included outright nudity (NSFW).
All that said, there's plenty of reasons for long lines for a job working there. The pay is about $4 an hour higher than your average retail worker, there's discounts on chic clothes, and in this economic climate, a job is a job is a job.
Indeed, the average American Apparel would-be employee is more likely to be hurting in this climate. Recessions generally dampen the economic fortunes of recent college grads, so spending a few post-grad years peddling disco pants, fleece jackets, and tank tops may be a comparatively attractive option.