Dov Charney Answers Our Questions on Hiring, Gawker and Why Larger Sizes Seem to be Disappearing at American Apparel

The Fine Line Between Judgment and Targeting

YMO: For you, where is the line between being judgmental, and simply targeting customers?

DC: I think any time you make a hiring decision for a position – for any position at any company you’re being judgmental. Our hiring practices are ethical and that can be felt if you walk into our stores. The authenticity of our stores is real.

I think this is an inauthentic false crusade. The fact that we’re concerned about what our employees look like… You run American Apparel and they’re wearing old clothes, or you see someone on the sales floor with their pants below their underwear or they look like they just rolled out of bed and you’re not supposed to have a problem with it?

So we use the internet to do something that wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago, and efficiently monitor the presentation of employees in our stores and it becomes a big issue. Efficiency is a part of this business, and Gawker’s portrayal of American Apparel employees as some kind of an exploited class is ridiculous. By trying to regulate their appearance we’ve committed some atrocious act? That’s preposterous.

YMO: I don’t think anyone is unsupportive of the working conditions for people who are hired.

DC: We had 2500 workers who lost their jobs because the government couldn’t get a solution to immigration reform in place. People are so focused on this narcissistic issue that we’re taking these photos to evaluate these employees… it’s all about tasteful presentation. The majority of people who receive paychecks from American Apparel are people of color – some who weren’t even born in this country, of all different shapes and sizes who receive above standard wages and benefits.

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