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[Updated] What’s happening with American Apparel’s stock and how does it affect you?

By Reading Time: 7 minutes

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.

UPDATE 06/02/2017

We brought back 6 more American Apparel products

They are exactly the same as before, except now they’re no longer made in the USA.

They’re all available in the mockup and push generators, so take a look and add them back to your store!

UPDATE 11/10/2017

American Apparel kids and youth tees are available again

Two American Apparel tees are back in the mockup and product generators, but they’re not made in the USA anymore and have new names:

  • American Apparel 2105 kids tee -> American Apparel 2105W
  • American Apparel 2201 youth t-shirt -> American Apparel 2201W

Here’s what you should know:

  • The t-shirts are the same as before, with only one difference – they are no longer made in the USA.
  • Everything else, including the prices, are the same.
  • The available colors for both shirts are: Baby Blue, Black, Fuchsia, Heather Grey, Navy, Pink, Purple, Red, Slate, and White.

We’ll keep you updated about any other returning products!

UPDATE 07/08/2017

More American Apparel products added to push generator

A few more American Apparel products have been added back to the product push and mockup generators!

Here’s what’s back: 

1. American Apparel BB401 (sizes S-2XL)
Black, Heather Black, Navy, Red, White

2. American Apparel TR401 (sizes S-2XL)
Athletic Grey, Tri Black

And more colors are now also available for the previously-added American Apparel 2001 and 2102 tees:

1. New Silver, Olive, Fuchsia, Cranberry, Grass, Orange, and Slate colors for the American Apparel 2001 men’s tee (sizes S-2XL)

2.  Heather Grey and Navy colors for the American Apparel 2102 women’s tee (sizes S-2XL)

We’ll keep you updated as more products become available again!

UPDATE 05/07/2017

The American Apparel 2001 & 2102 are back

The American Apparel 2001 and 2102 are available again in our push generator! They’re also stocked and re-integrated into our system, and they’re still made in the USA.

Here are the colors you can get for now in the push generator:

1. American Apparel 2001 (sizes S-2XL)
Black, white, heather grey, navy, red, asphalt

2. American Apparel 2102 (sizes S-2XL)
Black, white

We’ll continue stocking more products as they become available, and we’ll keep you posted about any updates concerning American Apparel.

UPDATE 27/04/17

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:

  1. The most popular products will continue to be made in the USA. Everything else will be manufactured in Honduras.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

1. American Apparel 2001 unisex short sleeve t-shirt

  • 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

2. American Apparel 2007 unisex long sleeve t-shirt

  • Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey

3. American Apparel 2102 women’s short sleeve t-shirt

  • Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey

4. American Apparel 2456 unisex short sleeve v-neck

  • Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey, red, slate, cranberry, lapis, light pink

5. American Apparel 2408 unisex tank top

  • Black, white, navy, asphalt, heather grey

6. American Apparel 2201 youth short sleeve t-shirt

  • Black, white, navy, royal blue, slate, kelly green, lapis, lemon

7. American Apparel BB401 poly-cotton unisex short sleeve t-shirt

  • Black, heather black, heather lake blue, navy, white, asphalt, heather red, red, heather lieutenant, heather forest

8. American Apparel BB453 poly-cotton unisex ¾ sleeve raglan

  • White/black, heather black/black, white/red, white/navy, white/heather black

9. American Apparel TR401 tri-blend unisex track t-shirt

  • Athletic grey tri-black, tri-indigo, athletic blue, tri-cranberry, tri-oatmeal, tri-coffee, tri-evergreen

10. American Apparel F497 unisex flex fleece zip hoodie

  • 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:

1. American Apparel 4041 infant long sleeve one-piece

2. American Apparel RSA5154 kids California fleece raglan

  • We’ll continue fulfilling these while we have stock, but we don’t have an alternative in place yet

3. American Apparel RSAKWBN-2 unisex cuffed beanie

  • 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.


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.

Switch from American Apparel 2380 cropped tee to LA Apparel 2332 cropped t-shirt with tear away label

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 customizable shirts 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 protected] for help.

UPDATE (02/15/2017):

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!

Liva enjoys making lists on everything and anything - starting with ecommerce tips and ending with cuddliest cats and best movies.


    1. Nora Inveiss

      We’re also waiting for more news. We’ve got some American Apparel products back now, take a look at the top of this post!

  1. computron version1.0

    hi, a few months back I inquired about the AA swintrunks on here thinking it was the actual AA website. Thereafter I emailed AA about the item. Tried multiple atempts and they won’t even respond. It was the this ones I was talking about that just lead to a dead link they never even said or warned about it being discontinued so don’t know whats up with that. Is gildan making something similar? I’d want these but black or navy blue. They are hard to find trunks in my generation Only other company is chubbies n those are xtremely expencive.
    It sucks AA is falling apart. Probably one of the only manufacturers of unisex mens beach swintrunks like this ones. They wer the perfect length, I only got 1 of them before they got pulled.
    One other (?) does printful fulfill indevidual custum ordered shirts as well?


    1. Nora Inveiss

      That’s too bad about AA swimtrunks! We don’t currently offer them at Printful. I’m not sure if Gildan supplies them, but you can definitely take a look.

      And yes, Printful fulfills custom ordered t-shirts! No minimums, order as many or as few as you’d like. Browse our list of tees that we print on here.

  2. Bev

    What is going on with the youth and toddler AA t shirts? I am launching kids t shirts and I had planned on exclusively using AA. Now I am not sure there is a suitable replacement. How long will they be out of stock??

    1. Nora Inveiss

      Hey Bev! We actually re-launched the American Apparel 2105 and 2102, so those are going to be more reliably stocked moving forward. Only difference is that now they’re not made in the USA anymore. No update on the toddler stuff, but we have Rabbit Skins alternatives.

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