American Apparel Taps Pickman

American Apparel Taps Pickman
American Apparel

American Apparel Taps Pickman by Todd Sullivan, ValuePlays

The biggest knock I’ve so far from the “Pro-Dov” camp regarding American Apparel was that new management hires did not have the “hipness” American Apparel had under Dov and that recent design team terminations were going to make the brand stale…… that just changed quick. Don’t expect anything from Pickman until the fall, retail has a long lead time so we’ll look to then to judge any success here or not. At least there is excitement about the brand again…

In the short term do not be surprised to see results suffer as the company purges old inventory that just wasn’t selling at discounted prices as they clear the decks for new offerings this fall.

American Apparel is working hard to shed itself of Dov Charney’s reputation and in an effort to become more stylish, the American basics company has just hired Joseph Pickman to be the head of the company’s menswear designs. Pickman is an LA-based designer who previously designed for cult fashion brand Band of Outsiders.

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After months of internal restructuring it seems that American Apparel is finally ready to make its post-Charney comeback. Pickman’s history at Band of Outsiders makes him an obvious shoe in for updating American Apparel’s minimal designs while still keeping true to the back-to-basics ideology that has made the retailer famous.

Hiring Pickman is a good business move, too. After Buzzfeed published document’s that American Apparel’s sales are still down the drain, making a deliberate move into menswear––an area of fashion that has been gaining more traction than ever––is a smart choice.

American Apparel is trying to break away from their NSFW reputation.

Fashionista reports that American Apparel’s “worldwide sales were down 10.9 percent as of March 31, and U.S. sales were down 12.8 percent relative to the year prior,” but the people behind American Apparel seem dedicated to turning the ship around. Paula Schneider, Dov Charney’s replacement and new CEO, is actively combating the low figures by bringing American Apparel into a new era. Schneider wants to step away from the retailer’s previous reputation of being too risque, and said, “we have to get past the idea that it’s just a clothing brand. It’s not. Our customers expect social commentary; they expect it to be a part of their lives.”

While Schneider and team’s hard work isn’t showing in the numbers yet, it’s obvious that any step away from American Apparel’s history of sexual assault and lawsuits is a step in the right direction––especially now that they’ve tapped one of the industry’s hippest talents.

The move is getting rave reviews from every fashion corner:

The Fashion Spot via WWD:

Needless to say, we’ll be taking a closer look at the men’s section in American Apparel in the coming months. With Pickman on its team, American Apparel is sure to reestablish itself as an affordable, refined and cool label.


Despite the continued tension, we’re genuinely looking forward to seeing what Pickman’s vision for the American Apparel guy looks like. If the company can get its marketing, merchandising and design teams on the same page, it might actually stand a chance of moving forward — dented image notwithstanding.


American Apparel is still continuing their rebranding, with shrinking down their inventory, dealing with their debt, and stabilizing their company overall. Band of Outsiders has long been a favorite brand of mine, and I can only see good things with this new hire. Yes to cool pieces with ease, and yes to this new rebranding!

Fashion United:

Hats off to Schneider for somehow managing to deal with more issues and controversies than any CEO ever hired to take over a sinking company ever. She stepped in having to deal with everything from massive debt, a PR controversy surrounding their founder, Iris Alonzo’s departure, and struggling sales figures. She should be highly commended for her perseverance to keep American Apparel a force in the retail industry despite a new obstacle at every turn. With the hiring of Pickman, American Apparel could begin to see some real turnaround.

American Apparel

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Todd Sullivan is a Massachusetts-based value investor and a General Partner in Rand Strategic Partners. He looks for investments he believes are selling for a discount to their intrinsic value given their current situation and future prospects. He holds them until that value is realized or the fundamentals change in a way that no longer support his thesis. His blog features his various ideas and commentary and he updates readers on their progress in a timely fashion. His commentary has been seen in the online versions of the Wall St. Journal, New York Times, CNN Money, Business Week, Crain’s NY, Kiplingers and other publications. He has also appeared on Fox Business News & Fox News and is a contributor. His commentary on Starbucks during 2008 was recently quoted by its Founder Howard Schultz in his recent book “Onward”. In 2011 he was asked to present an investment idea at Bill Ackman’s “Harbor Investment Conference”.

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