American Apparel's Lower East Side location, once famously home to mannequins in merkins, has shuttered. And though only a few of us truly suffer when a corporate store is lost, this closure is a foreboding sign for the financially-strapped company, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.
Bowery Boogie reports that the East Houston Street shop, which opened in 2004, shuttered sometime this weekend. Although the exact cause of this location's closure has yet to be confirmed, it's not the first American Apparel to call it quits post-Chapter 11—the location on 74th and Broadway closed earlier this month, and more closures are expected as the company scrambles to find more stable financial footing.
The Lower East Side's gone through a lot of changes over the last couple decades, and obviously it's much sadder when an institution like Bereket gets priced out than when a chain store decides to shutter. Still, there are reasons to lament American Apparel's troubles, and I'm not just saying that because I used to work for the company and loved my job there deeply. That "Made in the USA" label is no joke—American Apparel employs about 6,000 factory workers in California, all of whom are paid fair wages and have full healthcare and benefits, and shutting down operations will cost a lot of immigrants their livelihood.
They are also the only company that makes dresses for tiny people like me. Life is already hard enough for those of us who can't reach our medicine cabinets. SAVE THE LEGGINGS, SAVE THE WORLD!
Update 10/28: An American Apparel spokesperson tells us, "This store closure is a next step in implementing our previously announced turnaround plan, which includes closing underperforming locations and investing in new stores in promising areas."