Let’s talk about the big elephant in the room – the current state of American Apparel and what it means for us here at Printful and our customers. The company is undergoing serious changes that affect the entire industry. But there are a lot of rumors, chatter and hearsay, so let’s look at all the facts we know so far.
American Apparel products are coming back
Gildan is in the process of integrating American Apparel into its production process. This means that American Apparel products will soon be available again and we’re getting a clearer picture of what’s going on.
There are a couple of important changes to note:
- The most popular products will continue to be made in the USA. Everything else will be manufactured in Honduras.
- Printful will start supplying only the t-shirts that are made in the USA. We’ll slowly add overseas apparel as it becomes available by American Apparel/Gildan, and we’ll continue adding suitable made in the USA alternatives.
- We don’t have regular American Apparel stock and we don’t recommend adding new products just yet. We will buy what we can from current suppliers but since Gildan took over, we need to re-integrate them in our system and wait until they’re regularly manufacturing again, which will likely be in June.
These are the products that will be made in America and be available at Printful in May/June:
- Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey, red, royal blue, slate, cranberry, new silver, kelly green, lapis, teal, baby blue, grass, forest, orange, fuchsia, olive, army
- Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey
- Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey
- Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey, red, slate, cranberry, lapis, light pink
- Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey
- Black, white, navy, royal blue, slate, kelly green, lapis, lemon
- Black, heather black, heather lake blue, navy, white, asphalt, heather red, red, heather lieutenant, heather forest
- White/black, heather black/black, white/red, white/navy, white/heather black
- Athletic grey tri-black, tri-indigo, athletic blue, tri-cranberry, tri-oatmeal, tri-coffee, tri-evergreen
- Black, dark heather grey, navy, asphalt, sea blue
All other models and colors will be manufactured in Honduras moving forward. For example, the American Apparel 2001 will have 39 colors made in Honduras and 20 in the USA.
We’ll be adding made in Honduras products as they become available from Gildan/American Apparel. This will be a slow process – they expect to have all products available again by the end of 2017. We’ll keep you updated via email.
These products will be discontinued by Gildan/American Apparel:
- Use the Rabbit Skins 4411 as an alternative
- We’ll continue fulfilling these while we have stock, but we don’t have an alternative in place yet
- We will be adding a Bayside alternative
We’ll also update this blog post again and send email notifications as soon as our production is back to normal. If you haven’t already, make use of our alternatives tool so you can automatically set non-American Apparel products as back-ups.
END OF UPDATE
First things first: what exactly happened to American Apparel?
American Apparel (AA) is an instantly recognizable brand, but it has struggled for some time. It hasn’t been profitable since 2009 and it filed for bankruptcy for the first time back in 2015. After some restructuring, American Apparel continued operations for a while, but it filed for a second bankruptcy a little over a year later in November 2016.
In early January 2017, the Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear acquired American Apparel in a bankruptcy auction with a bid worth around $88 million. Gildan bought American Apparel’s manufacturing equipment and intellectual property rights, but it chose not to assume the leases of AA’s factories and distribution center in California. The deal also didn’t include American Apparel’s retail stores, which will be closed this year.
Where will American Apparel’s goods be manufactured in the future?
In short, no one really knows right now. At the time of purchase, Gildan hadn’t decided what to do with the manufacturing part of the American Apparel business – they said they’ll lay out more concrete plans for AA’s future at the end of February.
One of the main questions on everyone’s lips is: will Gildan keep manufacturing American Apparel products in the USA? The Canadian company mostly produces its goods in the Caribbean and Central America. It has some manufacturing plants in the USA, but the only article of finished clothing produced there is socks. Gildan hasn’t ruled out the possibility that it’ll keep American Apparel production in the USA, but no decisions have been announced publicly yet. We’ve heard through the grapevine that Gildan might keep manufacturing some of AA’s more popular products in the US, but the production would move away from California.
Gildan reportedly beat companies like Next Level Apparel, Amazon and Forever 21 in the bankruptcy auction with its $88-million bid. The high bid suggests that Gildan sees value in the American Apparel brand and has plans for it, but we’ll just have to wait and see what exactly the Canadian company decides to do.
What does all of this mean for Printful and our customers?
When an industry leader like American Apparel experiences problems, they impact everyone. At the moment, there is some stock of American Apparel products still available, but it’s limited and will run out unless Gildan resumes production of AA items in the coming weeks.
From what we’ve heard, production of AA products should resume at some point, but it’s not clear where and when exactly it’ll happen. It might take a couple of weeks, but it could also be a question of months.
We’re buying as much of the remaining AA stock as we can. However, it’s not a long-term solution – we estimate that the stock we’re buying should be enough for at least a month. But if you’re not prepared to wait for an indefinite amount of time for AA to resume manufacturing under Gildan and don’t want to risk delayed orders upsetting your customers, we strongly recommend switching to alternative products.
You should be able to find comparable alternatives for American Apparel products among our other brands. For example, the American Apparel 2380 cropped t-shirt can be easily replaced by LA Apparel 2332 cropped tee with tear away label, which is also made in the USA.
If you’re searching for an alternative to the classic American Apparel 2001 men’s t-shirt, we have several options:
For all other models, you’ll have to do some digging around. Choose between US and non-US made apparel, look at the colors available for different products, and decide between other factors like price, fabric weight, etc.
What’s Printful doing to prepare?
As mentioned before, we’re buying as much American Apparel stock as possible to fulfill all current orders. It should be enough for at least a month. But as long as Gildan’s plans for AA are unknown, it’s better to have other options. This is why we’re working hard to provide even more quality alternatives to American Apparel products for you to choose from, both US and non-US made.
We’re closely collaborating with LA Apparel. It’s a new company, but has considerable experience behind it (it was created by the founder and former CEO of American Apparel). LA Apparel offers high-quality products made in the USA. Some of their products are already available on our site, and you can expect more to be added in the future.
Printful is one of the few printing companies currently working with LA Apparel. So we’re better positioned to face potential troubles with AA’s stock and to continue investing in American-made products.
We’re committed to helping our customers through this transition. If you have any questions or need some help choosing alternative products for your store, our support team is always available.
Prepare your ecommerce store now!
Until Gildan announces its intentions, we won’t know when and how American Apparel will return. If the situation at AA stabilizes and it resumes production, we’ll let you know and you’ll have the option to choose American Apparel products again. But if the delays in production extend into months, you can probably expect product discontinuations.
That’s why to avoid unpleasant surprises with out of stock items we strongly recommend choosing alternative products to replace AA ones. If it’s important for you that the garment is made in the US, look in the direction of LA Apparel. Or check out our other brands if the country of origin isn’t a priority. We’ll keep adding new products for you to choose from, as well as new color options for the products already available.
We’ll keep you updated about any new developments concerning American Apparel and new products. Got any questions in the meantime? Contact email@example.com for help.
Gildan has published a statement about the current situation with American Apparel. They say that while they work on the transition, there will be a temporary interruption in the AA service. But Gildan believes that the integration should be completed by late February.
We’ll make sure to inform you if Gildan shares any more news!