American Apparel Uses The Names Of Its Fired Employees As Advertisement

Text reads: Women have always been in charge at American Apparel. From our Graphics Director (Carolina, since 2000), President of Wholesale (Patricia, since 2000), President of Retail (Nicolle, since 2002), and Creative Directors (Iris and Marsha, since 2004) to the women who photographed (Monika, since 2009), wrote (Katie, since 2010) and designed (Lucrecia, since 2013) this ad, talented ladies have been empowered to pursue rewarding careers at our company since the get-go. In fact, women make up 55% of our global workforce (sorry, guys) and an even higher percentage of our leadership and executive roles. This structure is incredibly (and unfortunately) rare in the corporate world.

Featured here are Hilda and Cecilia, quality control inspectors, Paula and Blanca from our hosiery department, Arabella, corporate receptionist, Katherine, Asia director and Julia, an artist and friend of the photographer. Women making it happen in Downtown LA since 2000.

That’s American Apparel.
Recently American Apparel debuted its new “Hello Ladies” ad campaign, the latest move to rebrand the struggling company under new CEO Paula Schneider. Appearing in the March issue of Vice (the first from the magazine’s new female editor-in-chief, Ellis Jones), the ad seems to celebrate the company’s own employees — rather than the scantily clad models it’s long been known for casting.

However, a former American Apparel employee (who requested to remain anonymous) reached out to us today disputing the integrity of the message. The insider, who was fired earlier this month, claims that several of the women who worked on this campaign have also since been let go from the company. Creative director Iris Alonzo, Alonzo’s assistant Dianne Galindo, creative director Marsha Brady, senior marketing strategist Joey Ng (responsible for buying the ad itself), lead photographer Kyung Chung, and Krista Martin, who curated the photos, have been let go since the ad was conceived, our source said.

These women are among the hundreds of employees who have been laid off in the past several months as part of a reported cost-cutting strategy.
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Many of the recently laid off employees are women of color, and our source claimed that racism could be a motive behind the staff changes — a serious accusation, to be sure — but what’s more, she pointed out that almost all of the employees had been at the company for years. As members of the “old guard,” several of them had signed the company-wide petition, which states a loyalty to Dov Charney and opposes the new executives.

(They don't mince words in it, either: The opening statement reads “American Apparel has a strong and meaningful name and purpose because of Dov, and the company's treatment of him in recent months has been unfair and dispiriting — we find it neither in accordance with company principles, nor reflective of the company's own business interests.”)

The former employees of the company (all of whom are currently working with lawyers) agreed that the ad campaign was a PR attempt to overshadow these recent firings. This is especially ironic, considering the ad text reads "In fact, women make up 55% of our global workforce (sorry, guys) and an even higher percentage of our leadership and executive roles. This structure is incredibly (and unfortunately) rare in the corporate world." It's not unusual to see a large amount of turnover when top management changes in a company, and it's clear that many of those who were let go were fans of Charney's leadership. However, to use their names and faces in an ad clearly heralding the new AA feels exploitative.

We checked all the listed women's current employment against their Linked-In profiles and third-party reports, and reached out to American Apparel which confirmed the employment status of those directly mentioned in the ad, but declined to provide further comment. We've provided complete lists of both below, but chose to only use the first names of those still employed at the company out of the respect for their privacy. Additionally, we noted when we were unable to locate certain individuals' last names (and thus, were not able to substantiate American Apparel's verification).

Directly mentioned in the ad:
Carolina Crespo, graphics director — suspended
Julia, artist and friend of American Apparel — currently employed*
Iris Alonzo, creative director — no longer employed 
Marsha Brady, creative director — no longer employed 
"Patricia", president of wholesale — currently employed
"Nicolle," president of retail — currently employed
"Monika," photography — currently employed
"Katie," writer — currently employed
"Lucrecia," designer — currently employed
"Katherine," Asia director — currently employed
"Hilda," quality control inspector — currently employed*   
"Cecilia," quality control inspector — currently employed*   
"Paula," hosiery/quality control inspector — currently employed*   
"Blanca," hosiery/quality control inspector — currently employed*   
"Arabella," corporate receptionist — currently employed* 

*We were unable to cross-check American Apparel's employment for this individual.

Not mentioned in the ad, but connected to the ad:
Joey Ng, senior marketing strategist — no longer employed 
Kyung Chung, lead photographer — no longer employed 
Krista Martin, photo curator — no longer employed 
Dianne Galindo, assistant to Iris Alonzo — no longer employed 
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