Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ordering from American Apparel

Pin It Now! Call me morally insensitive, but hearing all about American Apparel and the sexual harassment cases and alleged looming bankruptcy made me very curious about them. Apparently those amateur porn advertisements and sex slavery allegations turned a lot of girls off buying from them. But having never understood what the hype was all about in the first place - I mean, what's so great about gold tights and g-string leotards? - I decided there was nothing for it but to buy something and find out. I figured, if anything, with the clothes being not made in China, the quality must be good. There is no AA outlet in Canberra, so I bought from the website.

Three weeks after I ordered, the package had still not arrived. I emailed the customer service, and got a reply like there was an unknown problem with Australian Post and they would send it again, but they couldn't do it till the next Tuesday as they were having 'technical difficulties'. So then the next Monday, the package finally did arrive. The package was very nondescript, with a tiny sticker in the corner saying 'Consumer Returns, American Apparel'. A bit confused, I assumed they must have been able to resend my order after all. Then on Tuesday, I got an email that they resent my order. I didn't want to be an opportunist so I promptly emailed them to cancel the second order. I also had some other questions for them:

Why is it that the product was stuffed randomly into a normal postage pack, with no indication that it was from AA part from a tiny return address sticker on one corner? I wasn't expecting gift packaging, but when I've ordered from other online stores they'd at least included a shopping bag with the brand's logo, so they could distinguish themselves from a private seller from ebay. Why is it that the clothes had no swing tags? I'm sorry, but nothing looks more sweat-shoppy than clothes without tags.

The answer to my second question was that the clothes are shipped directly from their factory, before tagging - do I smell sweat shop? In any case, while the style and fit were great, the quality was nothing to rave about. I ordered their oversized chiffon shirt ($99), and there were actually excess thread hanging from some of the seams - sweat shop much?

Maybe it's their financial problems that have caused their standards to slide?

I doubt I will order from AA again. Net-a-porter, on the other hand...

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