Is the End Nigh for American Apparel?

Rumors and reports have ignited across the internet about the scandalized-and-scandalous L.A.-based clothing company, American Apparel. Wednesday's Inc. alleges the company is near bankruptcy. The chain of stores has been rapidly expanding over the last few years, including opening stores in 19 countries, not including the United States.

Less-than-popular founder and C.E.O. Dov Charney created an empire around basic, everyday cotton clothes. While those pieces still remain sought-after staples in many wardrobes, lately the style has trended more towards shiny, costume-like, and lamé (read: lame).

In 2007, there were suspicions that the company was behind a guerilla marketing campaign piggybacking on the heels of an anti-street-art vigilante defacing well-known NYC street works--like those of Shepard Fairey and Banksy--with haphazardly thrown paint splatters and wheat-pasted Marxist manifestoes. American Apparel denied the allegations.

But perhaps the most controversial aspect of American Apparel, besides Charney's boasts that he frequently has sex with his female employees (he's been sued for sexual harassment), has always been its advertising campaign, featuring photographs of overtly sexualized young women. Love it or hate it, the motif has worked well for Charney and his business.

The images atop the Houston store, located in Montrose on lower Westheimer, rotate seasonally. The one below was perhaps the most infamous.

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