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Exclusive: American Apparel Will Soon Sell USA-Made Goods by Local Talents

Photo: American Apparel

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When American Apparel said it was toying with the idea of outsourcing, this isn't quite what we had in mind. The LA-based manufacturer exclusively reveals to us that it plans to tap Stateside talents via a crowdsourcing campaign, which will determine whose USA-made goods will get stocked in its stores starting this fall.

Launching today, the brand is calling all rising designers to submit 60-second video proposals on why they should make the cut. "We're looking to launch new careers," Cynthia Erland, American Apparel's SVP of marketing, tells us. "The goal of this campaign is really to discover amazing artists who are up and coming. This could really be a life-changing opportunity for their small business."

The company tells us it's seeking "the best of the best of great made-in-the-USA accessories," including jewelry, bags, stationery, hair accessories, fragrances, and home goods. A panel of insiders will choose the top contenders, while "the final decision will be made by our internal buying team and experts in-house," says Erland.

The concept will be tested in American Apparel's top 10 stores, including at its Melrose Avenue and Hollywood & Highland shops; other locations include three in New York and boutiques in San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Chicago, and Miami.

For its first round, the brand hopes to select as many as 15 indie makers. Once selected, designers must be able to produce and ship 500 items within 30 days; products must retail for $100 and under, and makers will earn $40 per item.

Back to those talks of outsourcing: Erland tells us that while the brand is considering producing "more complex items" outside of LA, production will remain in the US. "We're focusing on products that sell and 80% of our products are basics [and] we are 100% committed to making and manufacturing all of our garments in the USA," she says, adding that the brand has yet to finalize any outsourcing plans.

Interested in selling with American Apparel? Submit your video proposal by June 17th and find out more here.