Legal News:

Woody Allen Settles With American Apparel

American Apparel and Woody Allen have settled their lawsuit for $5 million.
You may recall that Allen was suing the growing chain for its California billboard (pictured above) which used an image taken from his film, "Annie Hall" without authorization. Allen sued the chain, asking for $10 million in damages. The billboard was removed after a week.
AA Chairman Dov Charney indicated that the settlement was at the behest of his company's insurance carrier, which would seem to suggest that the case would inevitably have been a loser for the company. Charney released the following statement regarding the settlement:

“Naturally there is some relief of not having to go through a trial but I also harbor a sense of remorse and sadness for not arguing an important issue regarding the First Amendment, particularly the ability of an individual or corporation to invoke the likeness of a public figure in a satiric and social statement.”

Is there anyone out there who thought that Charney had a snowball's chance in hell beating the suit.
American Apparel, Woody Allen Settle (WWD)

Employment Update:

American Apparel Is Hiring

There's always a line on the sidewalk somewhere in this city. After a while, New Yorkers tend to credit their appearance to one of several standard options, including sample sales, open auditions, special celebrity appearances, iPhone launches or giveaways.
In this case, it's jobs.
This was the scene over the weekend outside American Apparel's Flatiron branch at 19th and Fifth where the chain was holding an open call for potential employees.
Most retailers are in retrenchment mode these days, laying off workers and closing underperforming branches, but not AA.
Despite its ongoing legal embattlements, American Apparel is continuing to open new stores, which means it has jobs to offer, hence the line of hopeful shopgirls and boys willing to spend the afternoon standing out in below freezing temperatures.
Apparently, this will be taking place every Sunday through the end of February, so interested parties still have a chance to freshen up their resumes and get in line.
We suggest you go early.

After the jump, more info regarding times and places

Continue reading "Employment Update:

American Apparel Is Hiring" »

Is This Really Necessary?

American Apparel Really is
The New Gap...'90's Version

American Apparel has been getting some extra spotlight time lately. If it isn't CEO Dov Charney's usual sexual harassment issues, it's his crusade to legalize undocumented workers. Charney even received a wicked impersonation on "Saturday Night Live". He seems undaunted by the current moribund retail climate, and is continuing AA's rapid retail expansion apace.
The latest location to fall to the American Apparel empire is at the corner of Bleecker and Sixth Avenue, a longtime Banana Republic spot that has recently been converted to showcasr the chain's higher-end Monogram line. As we may have mentioned before, that concept was meant to be temporary. At this particular moment, it turns out that a push to the higher end doesn't seem like such a great strategy for the Banana, so their timing is fortuitous. When Monogram exits, AA will take over.
Often compared to a newer generation of the Gap, American Apparel seems to be taking a page from the apparel giant's 1990s playbook, when it seemed there was a Gap on every Manhattan corner, saturating the city with khakis. After all, isn't there already a West Village American Apparel within spitting distance on Sixth Avenue near Waverly Place?
Is this store meant to be a larger replacement, (It's a fairly roomy two-level space) or is it in addition to the existing location? This will bring the number of American Apparel's NYC locations to 23 including the upcoming SoHo branch.
It's still not quite Gap level saturation (they have since closed many of the excessive locations) but if they keep duplicating locations à la Starbucks, their goodwill among customers may start diminishing fast.
Expect the pictures of ladies in tight leotards and skimpy panties to start showing up in those Bleecker Street windows sometime early next year.
American Apparel Upcoming Stores (AA via RACKED)
Previously: Banana Republic's Monogram Makes A Stealthy Debut

Upcoming West Side Action:

American Apparel Coming
To The Ansonia, And Other News

AaansoniaThat big tucchis in the window can mean only one thing aside from delight for passing schoolboys.
Controversial retailer (and faithful advertiser, please click to the right) American Apparel is taking over the spot left vacant by Sephora in the historic Ansonia building at 73rd Street and Broadway.
So recognizable is the imagery, that the text on the image seems practically superfluous, though the positioning of the word "coming" should be noted. Thus far, we have heard of no neighborhood outrage over the vulvalicious window covering, but give it time.
After all, it wouldn't be an AA branch if someone wasn't getting twisted over it, would it?
Uggcolumbus Elsewhere on the Upper West Side, the former Rockport store on Columbus Avenue beneath the Reebok Sports Club at 67th street will be inhabited by a new Ugg boutique, ensuring that the West side will be well supplied with clunky shearling boots for years to come.
Some unwelcome footwear just won't go away, but at least it's not another Croc's store.
Seecolumbus A few blocks uptown, burgeoning optical chain SEE Selective Eyewear Elements is adding to its Bleecker Street branch with its second New York store selling stylish yet well priced prescription eyewear on Columbus Avenue between 69th and 70th streets.
American Apparel (Official Site)
Ugg  (Official Site)
SEE Selective Eyewear Elements (Official Site)

AA Billboard Scandal Part II: American Apparel Responds

WoodybillboardJust in case anyone was wondering, it wasn't an April Fools joke.
In response to Woody Allen's $10 million lawsuit concerning their billboard featuring his image, American Apparel's attorneys claim that the image was meant to be interpreted "strictly as a social parody."
The hebrew script on the billboard can be tranlated as “the Holy Rebbe”in Yiddish.
How this is a parody, we are not exactly sure.
Are they parodying Chasidic Jews in some way? What's the funny part?
The images were up for less than a week in May of 2007 in New York and Los Angeles, and the image, as we had guessed is, in fact, from "Annie Hall".
Allen's camp contends that, parody or not, the billboard contains the name of a company that sells clothing and still serves as advertising to get attention with an unauthorized image. Allen has a long history of successfully suing companies who appropriate his image for commercial purposes, including those employing impersonators.
So, good luck getting out of this one, AA.
American Apparel Defends Woody Allen Billboard (DNR)
Woody Allen Joins Those Suing American Apparel

Woody Allen Joins Those Suing American Apparel

It's really hard to imagine how anyone could possibly have the nerve to use an uncleared image of a famous Oscar winning star a billboard advertisment, but when you realize that it is American Apparel ad, it seems easier to believe. Woody Allen has filed suit against the clothing company over this image which appeared in 2007. Allen claims his image was used without his consent, and is asking for $10 million in damages, and was never contacted or paid by the company for the use of the picture of him dressed as a rabbi. We think it's from "Annie Hall", one of his most celebrated films, so it's hardly an obscure image. Allen claims in the suit that, as a rule, he never endorses commercial products in the U.S. The suit was filed in Manhattan, and, call it schadenfreude, but we're looking forward to hearing more about this case.
Woody Allen sues American Apparel over ads (Reuters)

American Apparel's Latest Spawn

That oversized yet still skinny ass in the shop window means only one thing.
The currently posterior-obsessed American Apparel has finally made it to Hell's Kitchen. They will be opening a store on Ninth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets sometime later this year in at least part of what was once a grocery store. One wonders what took them so long to get to Midtown West, as they have pretty much covered every other neighborhood in the borough. It's worth noting that with what will be its twelfth store in Manhattan, AA is quickly catching up to Gap's nineteen units in the borough. Anyone who still wants to think of them as edgy and independent should think again.

American Apparel's Lower East Side Billboard Saga: Neighbors Triumphant

Well, the neighbors finally got fed up.
This week, after someone defaced American Apparel's now infamous billboard at Allen and Houston Streets, the T-shirt chain has finally removed and replaced it with a marginally less offensive one. Rather than the typical vulgarity one usually finds scrawled on subway posters, this bit of graffiti features classic New York liberal anger, ("Gee, I wonder why women get raped?" for those having trouble making it out in the image above) and while we don't necessarily subscribe to the "porn=violence" theory, we admire the neighborhood's determination to make their feelings about the billboard known, especially in the face of the American Apparel's insensitive indifference and lack of respect for its neighbors and fellow merchants.
Thanks to faithful readers like Jessi for keeping us abreast of the situation.
How'd they get up there anyway?
American Apparel vs. the neighborhood pt II (
New billboard image: Billboards: American Apparel Does It Doggy Style on Allen (Racked)

Continue reading "American Apparel's Lower East Side Billboard Saga: Neighbors Triumphant" »

American Apparel: The Neighbors Fight Back


Here at The Shophound we are mildy amused by the smutty and tasteless antics of American Apparel. We are not prudish. For example, we are not offended by Tom Ford's boobie-squeezing fragrance ads so much as we are amused that he thinks that it's suitable imagery to represent his company and products. There is a time and a place for everything, though we recognize AA's right to be as smutty or tasteless as they like. We, however, do not have an American Apparel billboard in our neighborhood, and while The Shophound can be entertained by its presumptuous vulgarity, Lower East Siders are getting incensed. We received the following comment from a reader, which you wouldn't see if you only read our front page:

I just contacted them [American Apparel] about this, write to:
I was told it was artistic, even after 45 other people in the neighborhood signed my letter saying it was over the top and that this is still a residential neighborhood, a 50 foot billboard of this is too much. They didn't care. the Sugar cafe underneath complained about this one and were told 'too bad'
the phone number of the woman in charge of that f'd up billboard is:

We redacted the phone number but you can find it in the original comment. We would note that American Apparel is now owned by The Endeavor Acquisition Corporation, a publicly owned company, so now there are a lot more people to answer for the company's imagery instead of just pervy old Dov Charney.
Previously: American Apparel is At It Again
UPDATE: As per the request of the original commenter, we have reproduced the comment, but we are removing the AA contact information. We have been informed that removal of the billboard is under discussion, which only goes to show that making your voice heard is always worthwhile.

American Apparel is At It Again


As a rule, we try to ignore American Apparel. They are just irksome to us in so many ways,  but our friends at RACKED brought their billboard at Houston and Allen Streets to our attention, so we sauntered over there to take a look It's an interesting new direction and yet it's worse than ever at the same time.
The artsy black and white image is a welcome departure from CEO Dov Charney's Terry Richardson-rip-off snapshot style. We thought for a minute that the new corporate owners The Endeavor Acquisition Corporation were trying to soften the company's visuals, and then we remembered that it's a picture of a topless female model wearing nothing but tights and sticking her bum in the she's waiting for...well...let's just be polite and say a spanking.
Remember when people got upset about Calvin Klein ads?
They seem so quaint now.