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Gildan to Let American Apparel Consumers Choose US or Foreign-Made Tees

Gildan Activewear’s American Apparel brand is putting its money where its mouth is.

The company, which acquired the American Apparel brand for $88 million in February, confirmed to Sourcing Journal on Friday that it is taking a “two-pronged” approach in pricing for American Apparel styles for consumers that will soon be available through online purchasing.

“As we have engaged with customers and consumers of this brand over the two short months since the acquisition closed, we have come to recognize that all American Apparel customers love the brand because of their great fabrics, styling and colors, the authenticity of their marketing and their unwavering commitment to ethical and responsible practices,” said Garry Bell, vice president of corporate marketing and communications at Gildan. “We have observed that there is a core American Apparel customer who absolutely wants a Made-in-the-USA product, which we are committed to offering them, leveraging U.S.-based contract manufacturers and our U.S.-based yarn-spinning facilities.”

Bell said the company has also determined there is a portion of the American Apparel customer base, as well as a larger base of non-American Apparel customers, that like the products but are looking for lower prices. The company will accommodate this customer with an incremental product line manufactured within Gildan’s existing manufacturing infrastructure that converts U.S. cotton and polyester yarns–Gildan has yarn spinning facilities in North Carolina and Georgia–into fabrics and garments in its company-owned facilities in Central America.

Gildan owns and operates vertically-integrated, large-scale manufacturing facilities primarily located in Central America, the Caribbean Basin, North America and Bangladesh.

Bell noted that similar to the former American Apparel model, these facilities are owned and operated using Gildan’s corporate social responsibility program called Genuine Responsibility.

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“We believe this two-pronged approach offers all customers the best of both worlds,” he said. “They will be able to make a choice between a ‘Made in the USA’ collection of key styles and a lower-priced collection of similar styles manufactured responsibly and ethically within Gildan’s existing manufacturing facilities.”

Bell emphasized that Gildan intends to invest in the American Apparel brand, “revive its energy and momentum supported by one of the industry’s strongest manufacturing companies.”

He noted that through Gildan’s current business focused on the global printwear market, it distributes products into 55 countries around the world. While American Apparel was sold in three of those markets, Gildan sees a good opportunity for growth in this business.

On the consumer side, Gildan’s business model is to sell products to retailers, with a small but growing direct to consumer portion of that business. This differs from the prior American Apparel model of operating their own stores and exclusively selling DTC.

With that in mind, Bell noted that Gildan is currently evaluating its strategy for consumers and will launch a new B2C e-commerce platform early in the third quarter.

“As we move forward, we will be looking at other opportunities for taking this brand to consumers globally,” he added.