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After emerging from debt protection in February, American Apparel continues to revamp its business strategy with various cost-cutting measures, including store closures and changes to the production line (read: layoffs). The company's latest move, a competition branded as "Made In," seeks to stock shelves with small goods made by local artisans rather than produced at its ailing Los Angeles factory.
Quietly announced today on American Apparel's website and hosted by Create.It, the campaign appeals to makers across the country with the promise of up to $20,000 per 500 units sold to American Apparel. To enter, makers upload a video pitch of their company and product, which will be voted on by shoppers and an "expert panel" of internet personalities like Johnny Makeup.
According to the video below, American Apparel is seeking "leather goods, canvas goods, footwear, jewelry, paper goods, fragrances, small home furnishings and more." Product must be made in the U.S., scalable to 500 units within 30 days, and retail for under $100. After testing up to 15 winning designs in 10 stores, the brand plans to expand the program to its international network of over 200 stores, and online.
The new program is in line with CEO Paula Schneider's general move towards outsourcing more complicated items and focusing production on the basics that move quickly off the shelves, Women's Wear Daily reports. It also seems to be a play to appeal to Millennials, who have grown up with DIY shopping options like Etsy and tend to value handmade, local goods. Bottom line? American Apparel's in-house line of hipster-approved T-shirts, sweatshirts, and leotards isn't cutting it, and they're hoping your small production wallets, earrings, key chains, and more can help.