Fashionably FreeWillamette Week
December 14, 2007
You might want to postpone your holiday pants purchase until next week.
This in light of American Apparel CEO Dov Charney's decision to donate 300,000 articles of clothing in the days leading up to Christmas. At least 20,000 of those items, says Tacee Webb, an AA project manager in Portland and close friend of Charney's for nearly 10 years, will be distributed in Portland.
"When a company gets big," explains Webb, "it can lose some of its specialness." Indeed, since AA went public recently, it's had consumers and critics alike wondering whether it will be able to preserve its distinguishing characteristics: employee-friendly and environmentally sustainable policies. Webb believes that it will. The free clothing blitz, she says, is "a symbol that it [AA] is gonna stay true to its original values."
Free from the monetary constraints of smaller companies, she now expects Dov to "spread the love" with even greater gusto than he has in the past. Stressing that the holiday giveaway is not an advertising campaign (she points to the absence of a press release), she extols, "Now he can really be a giver." Wait until Bill O'Reilly gets his hands on this: this year, Santa's Jewish.
Although Webb remains unsure as to how the massive distribution will take place, it seems likely that it will begin at some point late next week. "Mixed bags" of clothing filled with t-shirts, socks and underwear will be handed out to needy (or greedy) passerby on the streets near Portland AA locations. Clothing will also be given away in front of Lovecraft—a Bio Diesel conversion station owned by Webb—at SE 12th and Division.
Its unlikely that Webb's wish will come true ("every homeless person's gonna get a full wardrobe.") But it's probable that you'll see a homeless guy wearing thigh high socks and a trendy t-shirt. And it's possible that many a lucky hipster will end up with a spare pair of small pants—"slim slacks" in AA jargon.
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