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American Apparel Bets on Luxury T-Shirts

Photo: American Apparel/Facebook

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American Apparel is betting that a luxury T-shirt can turn its business around. Not just any T-shirt, but "a premium, beautiful fabric T-shirt," American Apparel's SVP of marketing Cynthia Erland told AdWeek.

The new, almost Everlane-sounding tee will come out in June, along with a global marketing campaign dubbed the "Perfect T-shirt." Erland explained it like this:

This is a big moment for us. Our older T-shirts are great, but they were a little bit heavier. They're still best-sellers; there's nothing wrong with them, but fashion has changed, trends have changed, fit has changed. But this is about more than a T-shirt campaign. This is the campaign that will set American Apparel back on the map. We want to cast girls and guys, influencers and creatives of all ages, shapes and sizes. This will be an omni-channel global campaign, and the broader message will be that American Apparel is back and for everyone.

The LA-based retailer filed for bankruptcy last October, and it battled AA founder Dov Charney in court for months. Dov, for his part, said he was going to create a new company to compete with American Apparel.

American Apparel is trying to focus on the tee campaign, more inclusive sizing, and e-commerce. It's also hoping to move on after the whole Dov thing. To hear Erland tell it, shoppers have already done that.

"I know there is so much press in the fashion media and in the advertising media about Dov Charney, but when we go into stores and talk to the consumer, they don't seem to care," she told Adweek. "I think it's amplified in our small little circle. I think the consumer just wants great product that's cool and on point, and honestly, our feedback out in the field is that they're really not listening to that noise."