American Apparel opening store in Waikiki
American Apparel, a controversial Los Angeles manufacturer, distributor and retailer of T-shirts and casual apparel that sets itself apart for making all items in the U.S. is planning to open its first Hawaii store in Waikiki.
The company's Web site, www.americanapparel.net, lists 2142 Kalakaua Ave. as a store location "coming soon," with an opening date still to be determined.
A spokeswoman for American Apparel did not return calls yesterday, and a spokesperson for the location's landowner could not be reached for comment.
The target location for the new store is near Outrigger's $535 million Beach Walk, which brought in a number of new retailers, including surf and skate shop Alter Ego and Malibu Shirts.
A newly renovated retail center at 2113 Kalakaua Ave. also brought in Lucky Brand Jeans. Other retailers on the block include Diesel and Hollywood boutique Chrome Hearts.
The company has made a name for itself as much for keeping its manufacturing on American shores as for its racy, self-made ads.
Dov Charney -- a native of Montreal, Canada, who launched the company in the late 1990s -- is known for shooting many of his own provocative ads, using employees or women he picks from off the street, as well as modeling the company's briefs himself. He's been known to use exotic dancers at a strip club for T-shirt fittings as well as for putting vintage Penthouse magazine covers up in the workplace.
He's been a defendant in three sexual-harassment suits -- one was dismissed, another settled and one is still pending. Charney has publicly denied the allegations.
At the same time, his company has earned a positive reputation for paying its workers $25,000 a year, well over the minimum wage, as well as offering subsidized meals, family medical insurance and English classes on-site.
Recently, the company also began offering employees close to $40 million in stock shares.
All items are made in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse, and range from simple cotton T-shirts for men and women to jeans, sweatshirts, swimwear, underwear, infantwear and even some dogwear. The target market is contemporary youth, and prices typically range between about $15 to $40.
The company went public in mid-December after a merger with Endeavor Acquisition Corp. The company as of Dec. 31 had more than 6,700 employees and more than 180 retail stores in 13 countries, including France, Germany, Israel, Japan and South Korea.