American Apparel, a company known for making relatively plain, albeit expensive clothing is apparently looking for relatively stylish, albeit attractive employees! Gawker reports that hiring and promotions are now being primarily based on full-body photos or as most of us call it, superficiality.
Workers are not only required to wear certain types of clothing (according to American Apparel, “Classy-Vintage-Chique-Late 80’s-Early 90’s-Ralph Lauren-Vogue-Nautical-High end brand”) but to have a specific physical appearance. “Your looks determine your position and pay rate, not how effective you are at your job” Gawker quotes one employee as saying.
A former employee of the store notes that the practice of intense physical scrutiny has been going on for years and that features as minuscule as nail color and eyebrow shape were cause for a denied application or employment termination. In another case, an employee was informed that “the trashy kind” of African-American women “that come in” the the store will not be considered for employment and that the company is “not trying to sell our clothes to them.” Instead, “classy black girls, with nice hair” were approved. In all cases reported by Gawker, those deemed “off-brand” were seemingly considered incongruent with American Apparel’s oddly aspirational genre of style.
This isn’t the first time American Apparel has come under fire for such blatant objectification and aesthetic elitism. Dov Charney, the founder and CEO of American Apparel, has definitely had his share of scandals, so this might just be another in the long list of blemishes on the visage of the U.S’s largest clothing manufacturer.
AA’s certainly not the first retail store to uphold some pretty specific standards for employee appearance. But while “Classy-Vintage-Chique-Late 80’s-Early 90’s-Ralph Lauren-Vogue-Nautical-High end brand” (assuming that’s possible) would not necessarily be an out-of-place look in the Mission, an area that denied AA entry last year, the idea of this look as a strictly-enforced dress code seems to take a lot of the fun — and style — out of it.