After seven years on Broadway, American Apparel — a clothing store that sells domestically manufactured hip young-adult clothes — will shut its doors in the upcoming months.
The Los Angeles-based chain, founded in 1989 by Tufts University student Dov Charney, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2015 and announced its sale to Montreal-based clothing manufacturer Gildan Activewear earlier this month. In its bankruptcy filings, American Apparel revealed that it had not made a profit since 2009 — the same year its store at 51 Broadway opened.
American Apparel announced that it will eventually close all of its 110 stores. This includes the New Haven location, though the store will remain open for at least the next few months, said company spokeswoman Arielle Patrick in a Friday email to the News.
Broadway’s American Apparel employs roughly 10 people, according to management. Employees and managers declined request for comment due to contract agreements and referred questions to the company’s press office.
From past reports by the News, American Apparel experienced troubles in New Haven from the beginning.
In 2008, the company sought to lease from Yale landlord University Properties. But UP denied the company a spot after national controversy, such as risqué ad campaigns, surrounded the brand.
“University Properties was not interested in trying to find a space for [American Apparel],” said Bruce Alexander ’65, vice president for New Haven and state affairs, in a 2010 interview with the News.
Despite Alexander’s noninterest, the Yale Mall Partnership, an independent real estate group that has agreements with Yale, allowed American Apparel to rent one of its spaces.
Thomas Vitagliano, managing partner of the YMP and owner of the building, did not respond to a Monday request for comment.
According to past reports, the store delayed opening in New Haven for a year, which led some students to lose interest.
“The opening of American Apparel has been talked about for so long that it seems like a myth,” Christie Kim ’11 said in a 2009 interview with the News. “The delays have killed any excitement that students might have initially felt.”
But before opening its doors, members from corporate expressed optimism about the New Haven location. Students at Yale and people in the surrounding area had been buying gear from American Apparel through the website, so the company knew there were customers, said Adrian Kowalewski, American Apparel’s former director of corporate finance and development, in a 2008 interview with the News.
Still, several shoppers interviewed in the store expressed disappointment at the store’s closing. It was the only American Apparel in Connecticut.
“We’re disappointed,” said New Haven resident Dana Schutz. “I do love the brand. It has staples like the onesies.”
But undergraduate Brantley Butcher ’19 was indifferent to the store’s closing. Since he does the majority of his shopping online and when he visits home, Butcher said his shopping habits would be unaffected.
American Apparel was founded in 1989.