American Apparel is coming to Broadway, but the popular retail clothing store will not be opening its doors until next spring, months after its original target date over the summer.
Although Yale Mall Partnership Managing Partner Thomas Vitagliano told the News in February that the store would likely open in June, the storefront at 57 Broadway — between Urban Outfitters and Blue Jay Cleaners — remains occupied by interim occupant Campus Customs. The clothing giant has leased the site, Vitagliano said, but will not be able to move in until about March because of construction delays on the old York Square Cinema up the street, into which Campus Customs will be moving when renovations are complete.
Adrian Kowalewski, American Apparel’s director of corporate finance and development, said only that the delays might have been caused by “a number of factors.” He declined to comment more specifically on the causes or repercussions of the setback.
Barry Cobden, owner of Campus Customs, said the transition is “out of my hands.” The construction crew working on renovations to the old York Square Cinema “[keeps] setting goals,” he said, but “unfortunately delays have stretched it out to this point.”
“Nothing goes as planned in construction,” Vitagliano said. “Everything is still on target.”
Most Students interviewed said they are unconcerned about the delay.
Genna Braverman ’09 expressed excitement at the prospect of having the Los Angeles-based clothing manufacturer on Broadway because the style and price range fit a niche left mostly unfilled by other Broadway-area retailers, including Urban Outfitters, J. Crew and Wishlist.
“I’m actually not that much of a shopper,” she said, “but in my mind I think of American Apparel as a more accessible J. Crew.”
Sam Yellen ’09 echoed the desire for more diverse retail options.
“It’s always good to have another store in New Haven,” he said. Laughing, he added, “I’m just excited about the leggings.”
But the overall response was more tepid. About a third of the approximately 20 students interviewed had never heard of American Apparel, and over half had never shopped there.
Several students also expressed strong opposition to the opening of the new American Apparel location, mainly because of what they described as the retailer’s racy reputation.
One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said she disapproves of the company because of the way its models — some of whom are displayed in suggestive and topless poses on the American Apparel Web site — are treated. For her part, one graduate student voiced concerns over several recent charges of sexual harassment leveled against the company’s owner Dov Charney, though Charney has not been convicted of any of the charges.
Although American Apparel also sells men’s and children’s clothing, the company is best known for its sometimes eccentric women’s garments. The company is currently undergoing an aggressive and far-reaching expansion, with its lineup of 130 U.S. locations set to increase by 24 percent and new stores in the works in 10 foreign countries.