american apparel fights the \'made in america\' fight. for how long?
Freshly baked pink shirts from the assembly line make sure the stitching is just right.
Around her, rows of workers quickly put up their sleeves, labeled them, and produced piles of clothing.
For the record: the title of the earlier online version of the article states that US Apparel CEO Dov Charney recently spoke about imported products.
As pointed out in the article, the company currently has no plans to move its business overseas.
He said: \"At this time, our business philosophy is to do everything right here.
But I don\'t rule out anything.
\"Lopez is from Guatemala and has worked in the clothing industry for 22 years.
Now, as a team supervisor, she is watching closely her team work hard on a huge factory floor where the snoring of sewing machines and the hissing of industrial steam irons drown
This may be a garment factory in Guatemala, China or Vietnam.
But it is located in an industrial zone in downtown Los Angeles, where American clothing companies are.
Engaged in epic-
So far, moneylosing —
Efforts to prove that clothes are still profitable in the United States.
Photo: 7-from American Apparel-
The story factory of the former South Pacific Railway freight station is the largest garment factory
Manufacturing factory in USAS.
According to an industry trade group.
Here, 4,500 workers cut, sew, fold, pack and ship clothes to the company\'s 253 stores and other garment factories around the world in two shifts.
American Apparel is known for its stylish stores, vivid advertising, and controversial chief executive Dov Charney.
But Sarah Y says the factory and the thousands it employs are the reasons why the company really stands out.
Friedman, executive director of National Assn.
For sewing products industry. Few other U. S.
She noted that garment manufacturers have hired hundreds of workers.
\"American clothes are very, very amazing,\" she said . \"
\"Any time you have a retailer with thousands of employees still in the U. S. —
This is amazing.
\"At the helm is Charney, 43, an outspoken advocate of the local manufacturing industry that founded the company 14 years ago.
In a recent interview, he acknowledged the pressure from other company executives, board members and consultants to move manufacturing abroad.
He said: \"I want to prove myself. I want to prove that\" Made in America \"is a smart enterprise.
Charney admitted that the company\'s financial position could ultimately prompt the company to start producing some products overseas.
\"It\'s unreasonable to say that I will never import from overseas,\" he said in an interview with the colorful factory office, where new designs are scattered and are being tested for fit.
\"At this time, our business philosophy is to make everything here.
But I don\'t rule out anything. Made in America\"S.
Charney, a native Canadian studying at the University of taftz in Boston, began selling T-
In 1987, the shirt under the American clothing brand, the seed money was pieced together by his father, family and friends, former classmates and friends.
Before settling in downtown Los Angeles in 1997, Charney began his manufacturing business in South Carolina.
In recent years, Chaney has struggled with a number of criminals.
Dismissal and sexual harassment lawsuits filed by at least 8 employees.
According to company lawyer Peter Schey, the latest two lawsuits filed by five retail employees last spring are now under arbitration.
The company denied wrongdoing, but admitted in response to the previous lawsuit that the company operates \"a place of work to be charged\" and that employees work with \"Sex, speech and image\"
\"This is an unusual recognition for a listed company, but investors are more likely to focus on the financial situation of the company.
US apparel has lost money for nine consecutive quarters.
The company\'s sales are $547.
It was $3 million in 2011, but a net loss was $39. 3 million.
Shares fell from 52 cents to 86 cents at Friday\'s closeA weekly high of $1. Last July.
\"There has been much discussion about the importance of American companies hiring American workers.
But when it comes to fashion goods, it doesn\'t necessarily resonate with shoppers, \"said Anthony Dux, a business professor at the University of Southern California who studies retail.
\"There is not much evidence that \'Made in America\' is a good model.
Marty Bailey, 52, proved his mistake.
The burly Kentucky man, the chief manufacturing officer of the company, saw both sides of the problem. His 28-
A year\'s career includes 15 years of work at the loom\'s lingerie giant fruit company, where he is in charge of factories in Kentucky, North Carolina and Mississippi.
When many factories were closed, he supervised the company\'s transition to manufacturing.
Wage countries such as Honduras and Mexico.
Skilled worker Pele joined US apparel in 2002 and quickly moved on to re-align the retailer\'s business.
His key innovation, drawing on his years in fruit looms, is to implement a \"team-
Based on \"increasing productivity and-he says —
Make the company successful in the United States.
On an open factory floor where light flows from large windows, the workers are divided into groups and each person is responsible for sewing a garment from beginning to end.
A team of 5 to 20 workers whose sewing machines were pushed together, starting with the fabric cut on the fourth floor.
The first one sewed the sleeves.
Next May zipper.
The project is delivered one by one between team members.
Finally, there is a finished shirt or skirt that is checked by the quality control personnel and then boxed and delivered along the conveyor belt to the delivery warehouse next door.
The skilled labor force in American clothing can produce 120,000 tons.
Shirt in the day and quickly roll out new designs.
Bailey says the rapid shift from design to factory to store is a key advantage of competing with competitors such as Forever 21 and H & M for shoppers.
\"I had an idea on Monday and hung in a store in Manhattan on Friday,\" Bailey said . \".
The company\'s products are faster than its-
Competitors in fashion
Simple cotton T
If the shirt is from American clothing, it can be sold for $21 and $8 if it is from Target.
Quality fabrics and better designs prove a higher price, says Bailey.
Giving incentives in the factory is the key: employees are paid according to the \"piece rate\" for each piece of clothing they complete.
\"Although everyone has a minimum wage guarantee --$8 an hour —
Factory workers earn an average of $11 an hour, and the fastest team earns $18.
Supervisors clock in their team several times a week and take the time to train slow employees.
The company mainly provides a popular workplace for immigrant employees.
Banners such as \"legalizing Los Angeles\" hanging on the factory building in the city center have promoted corporate support for immigration reform, and Charney has also held a parade for workers\' rights.
Supervisors are generally bilingual.
There is a medical clinic composed of doctors and nurses.
Factory employees can also enjoy subsidized meals and free massage services (
The masseuse of light blue American clothing tops sprinkled in the factory.
\"They are all here because they want to make money and the more successful they are, the more successful the company is,\" said Bailey . \".
\"These people are professional garment workers who are better and faster than training people in Honduras on how to operate a machine worth $5,000, and they don\'t even know how to flush the toilet because they don\'t see it.
\"In addition to paying higher wages, the company faces other drawbacks in managing American businesses. S. workforce.
Pele said that after the immigration audit in 2009, the company was forced to fire 1,600 workers in the city center\'s factories, with a sharp drop in productivity.
The company had to hire and train thousands of new employees.
In order to ensure that all employees work legally, it strengthens recruitment.
Four years ago, team leader Lopez jumped to the American apparel company after hard work at other clothing companies in Los Angeles, many of which have conditions for sweatshops.
She now earns $12 an hour.
\"The salary here is better than where I have worked before,\" said Lopez, 43 . \".
\"If you are a quick sewer you can earn a good salary.
\"AO Shangmai, 60year-
He worked as a mechanic at a garment factory in Guangzhou, China for decades and said conditions are better than eating at a Chinese restaurant, the only job he can find after moving to the USS. two years ago.
\"I have worked in a garment factory for decades,\" said Mai . \".
\"I am very happy to have a job to do what I have been trained in.
\"In addition to two large buildings in the city center, the company also has four smaller manufacturing plants in Southern California.
Company trademark cotton T-fabric
The shirts are available in 52 colors and are woven and dyed in these facilities before being transported by truck to the city center for sewing.
Most recently, Bailey climbed into a corporate van and went to the American garment factory in South Gate, where most of the company\'s denim fabric was cut, sewn and dyed.
In a huge warehouse, about 300 workers produce shorts, skirts and brightly colored skinny jeans.
From the small car-sized washing machine, the workers took out a bunch of jeans that had just been dyed deep green and stuffed into the same huge dryer that could hold 200 pounds at the same time.
\"At first, we commissioned the dyeing of nearby companies,\" Bailey said . \".
\"But we ended up in L. A.
So we bought this in 2008.
It makes sense for us to do it ourselves.
\"When other manufacturers fled the United States, it seems that the clothing in the United States has doubled.
In addition to blue jeans, the company recently added sandals and other shoes to its lineup --
It\'s all done at home.
Its slogan is \"Made in America \".
\"Sweatshop free\" highlights with sexy models on its billboards, websites and print ads (
Including some porn actresses)
Wearing exposed clothes
Wolfgang\'s Vault, a San Francisco-based company that sells concert records and merchandise, bought ordinary American clothing T-
The shirt is printed with a vintage music pattern.
Annelise Poda, the company\'s order fulfillment manager, said they are more expensive than many competitors but worth the extra cost. \"They are good-
\"The quality cotton is very soft and people like them very much,\" Poda said . \".
\"Our design reflects the original concert T-
Shirts aged 60 and 70 are slim and young.
American costume T-
The shirt fits well. \" Long-
Charney believes that the \"Made in America\" model is not only a marketing gimmick, but also a wise long-term model.
Long-term strategy of retail.
Manufacturing in the United States will prove costly.
With soaring international transport costs and rising overseas wages, China is a good example, says Charney.
He said: \"With the development of the global economy, manufacturing in the United States or Los Angeles will be very meaningful.
\"Even in the evening, downtown Los AngelesA.
The parking lot in the factory is often crowded with cars.
Its window gave light, and the worker inside still sat on the sewing machine with a bow and waist.
Charney insists the company is on the rise and is cautiously estimating that it may be profitable by next year.
He declined any suggestions that moving the business overseas could solve the US apparel problem, but analysts said the company had to consider whether to continue working.
\"After 50 years, will you say that American clothing will appear? \" Charney said.
\"Levi\'s has been around for a long time and I hope American clothing can be around for so long.
I still have a lot of tricks on my sleeve.
\"No one knows if these tricks will keep the factory in Los Angeles Open.
The company may take the road to San Francisco.
Headquartered in Levi\'s, it closed its last U. s. S.
Factories in 2003, like many industries, look for cheap labor in Asia and Latin America.
Photo: The American clothing economist says the city will benefit from the long wearing of American clothing.
\"American Apparel plays an important role in the job market in Los Angeles,\" said Song Yuansong, an economics professor at Cal State Channel Islands and vice chairman of Forever 21.
\"Some immigrants qualify for high marks
Paid jobs and others meet minimum requirements onlywage jobs.
They offer jobs to many immigrants who do not qualify for higher educationpaying jobs.
\"If they move out of Los Angeles. A.
\"That would be a shame,\" he added . \". shan. li@latimes.
This is one of a series of articles about manufacturers in California.