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American Apparel Opens Three Retail Stores
California Apparel News
Christina M. Chensvold
October 31, 2003

Los Angeles-based blank T-shirt maker American Apparel has jumped into the retail pool with a big ripple.

On Oct. 19, the company opened a small retail store in Echo Park at 2111 Sunset Blvd., next to a taco stand. "I live there, and our workers live there. It's our neighborhood," said owner Dov Charney, who often works the sales floor at the store.

The boutique, whose signage declares it to be a "community store and gallery," features artwork on display and is intended to be a gathering place for neighborhood locals. The store is open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, when free beer is served. "It's supposed to be a place for some of the intellectuals of the company and customers to hang out," said Charney. "It's not a money-maker — let's put it that way."

The store features the company's signature plain T-shirtsin a variety of colors and styles. They should be considered pure commodities, said Charney. "We operate beneath fashion," he said.

American Apparel launched three stores simultaneously, with the others in New York and Montreal. The company plans to open another Los Angeles store in the Boyle Heights neighborhood in the next several months.