Aug 26, 2016
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American Apparel looking less 'voyeuristic' in marketing shift

Aug 26, 2016

There is a sweeter, more demeure American Apparel emerging. The U.S fashion retailer -- plagued by bankruptcy, a series of lawsuits and a major public break-up with its co-founder -- is slowly on the rebound.

American Apparel campaigns are less 'voyeuristic' with shift in consumer focus - American Apparel

With founder Dov Charney out and CEO Paula Schneider, in -- with a vision to address weaknesses before unifying the brand once more -- there are several notable changes taking place at American Apparel.

According to retail data analyst Editd, American Apparel has already scaled back on product offering. In August, just 17 new styles arrived online, compared to Urban Outfitters’ 1,087 new items and H&M's 677. Despite it being the busy back to school period in the U.S., American Apparel is aware it's carrying too much inventory. The firm had nearly 14,000 products back in 2014. Now, it has about a quarter of that, said Editd in a blog post.

The company's website is now much nicer to browse too. Product shots are easier to view, thanks to a new system where alternate colour ways are only shown when customers click into the colour. All amateur style shoots have gone, leaving simple in-house shots. Stylistically, the band's former heavy-font logo has been replaced with a softer version. Meanwhile, all vintage pieces and collaborations with artists have ceased, reflecting a market saturation in vintage fashion and a shift in consumer tastes.

"Teen tastes and interests have changed anyways," writes Editd. "They’re onto the 90s, a decade driven by brands like Calvin Klein, Champion and Fila who have smartly added product lines to appeal to their new consumers."

The most drastic shift is the change in marketing tone. In less than 12 months, the highly controversial campaigns and email newsletter imagery have been softened.

"The suggestive poses and voyeuristic stagings have all but disappeared," notes Editd. "These days, American Apparel’s campaigns have a stillness reminiscent of Cos campaigns."

The new visual approach hints at a new consumer focus, writes Edtd, who believes American Apparel is focusing on one of its three target groups, the 'classic girl' (aged 25-35, in search of quality basics at a price point of $20-30). There's still the 'high school student' who accesses the opening price points and the 'party girl', who looks for something unique. 

Editd said 28% of American Apparel's offering is focused on the $20-30 price point -- a higher weighting than other retailers give this price category. H&M, Uniqlo and Urban Outfitters emphasise under $20 products, while Gap evenly distributes to the $10-20 and $20-30 ranges. American Apparel sits somewhere between Gap and Everlane, Editd concludes.

"They’ll need a continued focus on quality if they want to maintain this positioning."

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