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Athletes and trendsetters alike: Look!
Fashion For Thought
The Pitt News
Deena Campbell
February 9, 2006

Walk into any local retail store and you're bound to see labels that read "Made in China" or "Made in Vietnam." But it turns out Pittsburgh recently opened a store that flipped the script and sells T-shirts that were all born under one American roof. "Made in the U.S." with a touch of Los Angeles styling, American Apparel is for the all-American fashionista.

The company, which started in 1997 manufacturing T-shirts for screen-printing wholesale, has stores in 27 U.S. states and 11 countries, selling a variety of T-shirt-y styles and trends.

Pittsburgh welcomed American Apparel in December of last year, as it made its mark in the Shadyside area as not only the 101st American Apparel store, but more importantly, the pioneer of the fashionable tee.

But the brightly colored clothing store is not only American Apparel; this hip retail store is perfect for spring break apparel. With everything from swimsuits to bandeau dresses to capri pants, American Apparel is your one stop-shop for California dreaming on any winter day.

"We aren't just a seasonal store — most of our items are available year round," said one of the excited managers, Michael Woodfill.

Unlike most retail stores, American Apparel is a sweatshop-free retailer, where workers earn an average of $13 to $15 an hour, and an assembler's actual wage is $23, which is double in comparison to California's minimum wage.

At the downtown Los Angeles facility, everything is cut, sewn and manufactured sweatshop free. And according to their mission statement, they don't outsource to local or developing-nation sweatshops, so the entire process is time-efficient, thereby allowing them to respond faster to market demands.

Clearly, American Apparel confirms that stores don't need to exploit the workforce to be stylish. With its extensive press coverage from The New Yorker, Time magazine, In Style and Men's Health, American Apparel is more than meets the eye.

"There's finally some clothing apparel that appeals to people who actually want to buy it. It gives a refreshed feeling to putting on a basic T-shirt," said Woodfill.

To top it off, most of the merchandise at American Apparel is 100 percent cotton and 100 percent stretch, guaranteeing consumers comfort and flexibility with every move. And because their cotton is prepared from 30-singles yarn and knitted on a 28-gauge knitting machine, it's also undeniably softer and higher in quality, making American Apparel the number one T-shirt genius.

The hip retail store originated more than a decade ago as wholesale industry, producing T-shirts for companies, organizations and virtually anyone else who wanted T-shirts in bulk.

"A lot of people have American Apparel shirts and don't even know it," said Woodfill.

But one thing you won't find at American Apparel is denim, logos and shoes. American Apparel is strictly a T-shirt-type store. However, rumor has it a jean-like material is in the making.

"You won't find any frills or logos in American Apparel," said Woodfill. "That's what sets us apart. You can never have enough plain, colored clothing — it's not a fad," said Woodfill.

And apparently, everyone agrees. American Apparel is one of the fastest-growing consumer apparel brands in the United States, and that fact can be attributed partially to its organic merchandise. The company's environmental policies have launched a new line of organic clothing including track jackets, pants and tees.

And even the models are au-natural. Taken straight from the company staff, the models on posters and display ads are actual workers who aren't your typical models.

And if you're in the mood for catching a sale, American Apparel is running a promotion right in time for Valentine's Day. From now until Feb. 14, American Apparel is making it easy for you to get close with your significant other. Purchase any type of undergarment at regular price and receive the second half off.

Too busy to stop in and take a look-see? Shop online at and receive free shipping to United States and Canada on all orders over $100.

American Apparel is located at 5509-11 Walnut St. in Shadyside. Call (412) 622-7021 or visit
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