Monday, November 21, 2005

OTL Announces Buy Nothing Day Jam

American Apparel is not as friendly as you might think they are. While they might not use sweatshop labour in their production, which should be a given instead of a sellpoint, they have created a different kind of sweatshop in Downtown LA and around the world.

Their ads, touted as empowering and liberating, are actually playing on an old advertising standard that victimizes women. These attitudes are mirrored by CEO Dov Charney, who has been accused of sexual harassment at the workplace more than once.

American Apparel has vigourously fought attempts to unionize it’s production faclility in downtown LA, even visiting workers at home and forcing them to attend anti-union rallies.

“Knowing that the company has bullied its workers, and that sexism pervades from the ad department up through the office of the CEO, it becomes clear that American Apparel is different only in degree, not kind, from its competitors.”
– Ari Paul, In These Times

American Apparel was born here and as proud Montrealers, we feel it is our duty to let everyone know that we are not about the exploitation of women, union busting or cloaking business-as-usual garment-industry capitalism with activist chic.

This Buy Nothing Day, November 25th, Optative Theatrical Laboratories will expose the theatre behind this conglomerate by performing in an undisclosed American Apparel store in the greater Montreal area.

OTL has been jamming the monoculture on Buy Nothing Day since 2002, last year’s performance of Death By Latté by Bill Talen inside two Starbucks locations galvanized the patrons and produced a short video documentary and drew attention.

For more information please contact (514) 583-FEST (3378) or or log onto



Anonymous A person who looks at fact said...

Give me a break! Do AA ads offend you? booohoooo! I have some friends who did photo shoots for them, and trust me they were not exploited. They took racy pictures, knowing full well what they were doing. If they dont feel exploited, why do you? AA is HARDLY the first company to use sex to sell products. At least they use real people instead of anorexic models that destroy average girls self esteem. You are entitled to your opinion, but I dont think ads like those are worth making AA out to be evil.

As for the worker stuff, I have read all the links on your site and have found no real evidence about this so called union busting. A bunch of people make claims, but the OVERWHELMING majority of real information (from journalists in LA who actually visit the factory) report on incredible working conditions, way above the standard of any similar plant. One of my friends who did the photo shoot also worked in LA and when asked if the "company propoganda" is true, she responds by "every word of it".

Fact: AA workers are the highest paid in the world in their industry.
Fact: AA workers get health care, english lessons, subsidized lunches, free telephones, and even massages!
Fact: In Los Angeles not a single garment factory out of thousands is unionized.
Fact: AA workers rejected the unions (according to videos i have seen on their site as well as other articles i have read).

I have been following American Apparel for several years now, and unlike you I choose to fully research a subject before I decide to make claims about it.

My opinion is that you and your "theater group" needed some publicity and decided to use one of the hottest growing companies around to get it. Get a life and target some of the million corporations who actually do exploit workers and ruin the environment. I doubt that american apparel is perfect, but they are unquestionably way above the rest.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous its me again said...

oh ya and that picture is not dov charney, at least as far as i can tell from the many photos of him on

good research kids (and nice photoshop work too, very professional)

9:39 PM  
Anonymous JC said...

Take all that you just said and add "so when's the meeting, I'm interested, but just a bit skeptical" and you'll get someone who phoned our collective on Buy Nothing Day eve.

Suprisingly, American Apparel sent an undercover security agent to our meeting the next day posing as someone genuinely interested in activism.

That agent attempted to thwart our performance, but succeeded only in getting our performers thrown out to the street by an army of AA goons, where the real theatre happened.

It seems to me that espionage on activists and thuggery are tactics used by corporations with something to hide that are more interested in protecting their brand-image than allowing any critical discourse to take place.

American Apparel claims to be progressive and specifically targets socially conscious customers.

If we can't hold such an enterprise to a higher standard than business-as-usual capitalism, soft-porn marketing, union busting (you haven't named a source that refutes this claim other than a video on the company's own website) and we don't even try to show them how they can fix things (a sexual harassment policy would be a nice start) then going after the worst of the worst companies is just pointless showboating.

9:26 AM  
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