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Ten Commandments
6 The Shop: American Apparel
10 Magazine
Richard Gray
Spring 2008

You remember that bloke you passed in the street the other day - you know, him with the skinny jeans and bowl-cut hair - he was hot, right? Well, he always shops there, as does she - the one who works in town, the gorgeous one with the green eyes. And I'll tell you who else does - her with the dreads who's always down the George & Dragon, the one who was pushing leggings three years before anyone else. All the cute and cool people shop at American Apparel, it's official. The way-too-skinny students, oodles of stylists, people in bands (who isn't in a band these days?) and tons more - think walking in to a shoot for Teen Vogue on a good day. It's one of the few places where the promises made in the ad campaigns manifest themselves in the experience, too. And what ad campaigns! For a start, they don't look like a proper ad campaigns; you're not going to see some vacuous tart with wind-tunnel hair and buy-my-handbag eyes here. Rather it's cool kids sprawled on floors, in a "whoops! I fell, but look at my glorious purple hoodie" kind of swish. Or a random cute lass with unfeasibly fabulous hair, just hanging around in knee length sport socks, flashing a whitey-white grin - gawd knows why she's just hanging about, she just is. Anyway she's so flicking cute, she can do what the Brussels sprouts she likes. The AA-ad theory is simple: look for somebody who identifies with the brand - great hair, nice teeth, super skin - and get quirky. These are all people off the street, by the way, or kids who work in shops. Any potential campaign stars should think about the following points before forwarding their CVs: 1) not got a brace? Then get one: retainers are de rigueur at American Apparel; 2) legs must be string-of-cotton thin, all the better for the jeans; and 3) Swedish as a second language is preferable - well, all Swedes wear American Apparel, so it would make sense, ja? The problem for us lot - the average-sized paying public - is measuring up to their exacting standards. So, if the jeans don't fit, then the scarves will... oh, and the gloves, maybe a couple of the tees, an anorak or eight and even the shades. See, fat people like us can wear American Apparel. Now, where's my guitar?