The eulogies for imperiled brand American Apparel are already starting. Nylon talked to seven anonymous employees who worked for American Apparel during the Dov Charney years, before the founder was ousted. There's plenty of interesting info from the interviews about American Apparel's culture ("Lots of sleeping together, bosses with subordinates, a love triangle between two bosses and a subordinate.") and how the business went downhill ("We didn’t really go by financial plans, there weren’t buyers, we weren’t constantly having our heads up a spreadsheet's ass, so maybe we didn’t know what was going on 100 percent of the time.").
Maybe the most interesting responses, though, are the employees' memories of interacting with Charney. Here are their weirdest stories about Dov:
He would never flush the toilet. "He would fly me out to New York on a redeye flight Friday night after working all week, make me work all weekend in New York, then fly home on a redeye Sunday night and get to work in L.A. Monday. I had to stay at his apartment a few times and he was such a weirdo! He had a maid/cook. He would never flush the toilet—I had to flush his shit multiple times. He had girls over and would make me close my eyes as they left so I didn’t see who they were, had Hitachi wands everywhere, and a massage table in the middle of the room. (I did get a massage once at 3 a.m. by a tiny masseuse and it was amazing.)"
He was a total germaphobe. "I don't think I had any super-personal interactions, but the management was always in fear that he was just going to show up at the store at any moment to inspect it. One time this happened, and he came into the store with a Swiffer Sweeper and Swiffered the whole store and left. I don't think he talked to anyone. He was a total germaphobe and hated dust. He was obsessed with cleanliness and he was clearly an insane person. But, I think you have to be insane to start a business like that and be that successful."
His mansion was super sparse. "I went to his mansion a few times, but he wasn’t here. It was super sparse. I’ll never forget one room had three columns with a VHS boxset of all of The Godfather movies. That was all that was in there. He loved to clean his stores, and would actually get down on his hands and knees to dust under racks."
He loved chain restaurants. "Any time we traveled, he would want to go to one. Once he paid off a hostess at Benihana to seat our party right away. I think he handed her a $100 bill."
He visited American Apparel stores at 1am. "He would come in super late, usually after 1am on Saturday night. He would 'inspect' the store to make sure it was perfect and if a hanger was missing a size. If something was in the wrong spot, he would freak out and talk to some invisible person in his headset."
He took American Apparel employees to his family functions. "He took us all out for dinner one night after we finished for the day (maybe 20 people in total) to a Greek restaurant nearby. We thought it was going to be a company function where we’d talk business. Turns out, his grandmother had just died and his entire extended family was already gathered there. He sat with them and all the employees were sat at a table 30 feet away. We were the only people in the restaurant. It was super weird."