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Wanda's favourite business for October 2005!
October 2005

Her name is Lauren...

She is your typical girl-next-door. The definition of an American high-school girl. She invites you into her bedroom. Wearing nothing but hot shorts and a white net t-shirt, she is seducing the camera, showing you her curves. The strong shadows caused by the harsh flashlight suggest an amateur shoot. Wait... What is this about? Is Wanda about adult content after all?

Nope! We are making a visit to the web-site of the biggest garment manufacturer of the United States: American Apparel. Here we run into red hot Lauren. Did they hire Terry Richardson to make these contemporary, at first sight maybe a little "cheesy", pictures to promote clothes that are made with very cheap labour in the far East? Totally wrong.

American Apparel is first of all serious business and they want to make great clothes for a good price. Their business model is completely unique though. All their activity takes place in Downtown Los Angeles. They call it "Vertically Integrated Manufacturing". This means everything from the fabric production up to the photography, marketing and distribution Opinion Showcase Art Business Events People News everything from the fabric production up to the photography, marketing and distribution happens under one roof. So the girl from the street Lauren, is a way to reduce costs on the marketing, yet she gives the website a very hip and catchy appearance. Marketing "American Apparel" is strange anyway, since the company is not trying to make a brand. Only a peek inside their products will reveil their name and the important "Made in the USA".

This leaves money to be spent on what it is all about: the making of nice apparel. The employees that do the sewing earn a decent wage up to 15$ an hour. Good working conditions, decent contracts, training, massages, language schools and health services are all part of the package. And with around 4000 employees American Apparel is strengthening thelocal community of downtown LA.

A lot of the big companies existing today, started many years ago with similar business models. Eindhoven for example still shows a big heritage of all the services that were once part of your job at Philips consumer electronics. American Apparel is a nice example of a company that is able to deliver sustainable production business within a rich welfare nation nowadays. The best thing about all this: they manage to stay competitive among companies that outsourced all production to low wage countries.

And great to see how this conscious company is not about spreading its ideas as a bore. It is just tickling and teasing the conservative US consumer with a very modern approach on the American Dream. We love you Lauren!

For more information on this great company or to have a look at their products, go to: