Death of American Apparel

American Apparel will not die because American labour is too expensive, or that a market does not exist. Their death will not be because of tired advertising, a scandalized founderunderperforming store locations; the reason for their death is far more simple: Their clothing is ugly.

Zara offers copy-cat runway looks with mid-range quality at mid-range prices. H&M sells trendy pieces with low quality at low prices. American Apparel sells…quirky pieces with high quality at mid-range prices, and that market just does not exist at a scale worth hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. And in all honesty, the market American Apparel chases may not exist at all.

Take a moment to peruse around American Apparel’s online store. Is there anything there you would buy? The women fair better than the men, but the non-traditional fit and colours are never going to have a place in anyone’s permanent wardrobe. Where are the simple pieces? The awesome-quality sweaters I could wear every day in eighteen different colours, or the handbag every woman needs on their shoulder no matter their age? If American Apparel prides themselves in good quality pieces, why are they not designing pieces someone wants to keep for a long time?

American Apparel’s market should be essential pieces with high quality at mid-range prices for the average North American. Their visual identity already says that: They use the common Helvetica Black as their primary font and their advertisements feature no-fuss-I-don’t-care models. This is the image the brand already has, whether that was the intent from the beginning or a happy accident. What they don’t have is a collection of clothing people want. Nobody cares about the scandal, but everyone should care about paying workers fair wages, a production facility that prides itself in environmental sustainability, and a brand focused on spending money on its people, not on celebrity endorsements. American Apparel has the image; now they just need the clothing.

Photographs by American Apparel
Copy and design by me
Headline font is Yeseva One
Copy font is Montserrat

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

We are not a family of grand festivities. Love is not contained to sanctioned days of the year, nor do we place higher expectations on a day simply because it has a title. Mother’s Day is just a day to my mom and to us, no different than any other. The difference lies in that we as a family show how much we care about each other throughout the year, and so spontaneous acts of kindness far outweigh orchestrated days of compassion.

My father always brings home flowers for mom, and thanks her for raising my brother and I so well. His secret superpower is, in my opinion, to always pick out the best flowers for the occasion. Unintentional, I am sure, but isn’t that the best way to show how much you care for someone?

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Devoid of an identify

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I am devoid of individuality
Devoid of an identify
Falling through the black infinity
Grasping for what they want to see

Divulged divergence

It was the latest copy of Cereal magazine. Or was it my reading of ‘The Yellow Wall-paper’? Perhaps it was the unconventional appearance of the two in the same period, the effects of which have left me very stripped. Perpetual questioning of our existence is human nature, but identity? As soon as I find myself sitting down with a character I understand—that character being my own—I find cracks. Each crack refracts light in that annoying way, the way that snatches even the most wandering of eyes and beats down onto their satisfaction with the current situation. A crack is an inconsistency or a flaw; something that does not fit.

I do not like things to be centred on my desktop anymore, but opened at off-set points along an invisible Cartesian plane. Comfort is no longer found at (0,0) but instead the peculiar points in-between. I want to live on the East coast of Canada—summer heat, soft breeze, sharp water—when I am older. My white walls and black furniture irritate me; my only solace lies in an antique wooden chair with metal-wire supports, piles of magazines and an antique painting of unknown origin. Unfollowed are the minimalists, replaced with the realists. Bright colour gives way to muted tones, dark corners and warm afternoons. Perhaps it is the spring, or maybe leaving college for home, but that leaves no foundation for resistance to sit.

While I talk garrulously there is a substance to my writing: Our identities do not die, but moult as they age and our tendencies, whims, loathings, nightmares and daydreams, values or perspectives metamorphose. We can stand aloof of this process, allowing for external aggressors to snip and prune, or we can give no acquiescence to the matters that unfold. Read longer, run faster, dream deeper. Vehemently claw at what you stand for: Does it stand?

On Italy

A few weeks ago Daniela and I meandered the suburbs. I captured this beautiful house which reminded me of a Mediterranean vineyard, overlooking the sea in quiet movement. I tried the limited-edition Starbucks birthday Frappuccino which was softly delightful, though I am trying to cut back on my sugary intake. The interior of Starbucks, captured in black and white, felt very old-world for once. Even one’s opinion of an interior can change with time.

Transit, A New iPad, and Joan Rivers

Potato leek soup in a white porcelain bowl, pictured above.

When you learn to ride a bike, you never forget it and you’re fine. It’s public transit that will get you.

Daniela and I made a pilgrimage to Sherway Gardens mall again, after swearing only to do so monthly at maximum. The first trip ended in misery when we wandered the mall parking lot for twenty minutes in the summer heat looking for the right bus stop. That was after the ‘gentleman’ in Topman said I was too small for their pants, which is apparently a socially acceptable remark. Weird place, the city is.

This trip was mostly to take a break from the hectic week, and to return a pair of navy trousers which I purchased on impulse simply because they fit me. To be honest, despite how versatile a pair of navy trousers may sound, they’re the Devil’s work. Everything you pair with them will look informal compared to the trousers, it’s like a teenage dirtbag standing beside Anna Wintour. They went back, and the $65 spent went towards a little splurge…

…which happens to be the new iPad mini with Retina display I am using right now.

When Apple released the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina they said there was no difference, save for the screen size. Apple was wrong.

Using the mini is far different from a full-sized iPad; there is a deep desire to consume content. For once, I actually want to read a digital magazine. I watch videos on news websites, television episodes (Extant and Young and the Restless, I’ve missed you both since college), and films far more with the mini than I did with my iPad 2, and the reason is screen size. There is something far different about a smaller screen, a more intimate experience is possible. I feel closer to the content, and because of that I consume more.

That isn’t to say the mini is useless at creating content; I’m writing this post right now and it feels just as comfortable.

I also purchased a Smart Cover in brown leather which I adore. The slate grey and caramel brown are so lovely together, and this shade of brown has been my accessory colour of choice as of late. I will be writing a post after I have had a bit more time with the pairing, but thus far I am a massive fan.

The intent of this post was to be a wrap-up of these past few days, so I must talk about Joan Rivers.

I could not decide whether to make the subject its own post, but in doing so I would set myself up to fail. There was so much to Joan, and attempting to contain it within an editorial is like bottling the ocean; impossible. She was a vast woman, beautiful and bright. Pushing herself to do more was who Joan was, and with everything she did her mind was on one goal; to make people like her. I don’t think it was selfish, it was her carnal nature. Joan was what we made her. She wasn’t a muse, but a mirror of our own.

I will miss Joan Rivers very much.

Here I Am At College

Yesterday was a busy day. At seven-thirty my family crowded into the already-packed car and headed off to Toronto to move into the college residence. This is my first year at college, my first time away from home, and my first time living in a city. To be honest I have had one sleepover in my life; this is a new experience. You will be seeing quite a bit of Daniela, my best friend and room mate, because we happened to choose the same college and program. I would be dead if it weren’t for some form of familiarity.

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To be honest, I don’t like it here. I am away from my family, the comfort of my bedroom, and home cooked meals; no oven makes a very sad Zachary, indeed. The people here aren’t very nice, and everyone here on the floor pressures us into social events we don’t want to attend. They say college is the one place you have to be involved, but why aren’t we given the choice of what we involve ourselves in and with? I don’t really like it at all. And for those who, like me, didn’t think the average college kid only drinks, drugs, and parities? Surprise…out of a room of eighty-six I do believe Daniela and I were the only ones who didn’t. As for the floor manager’s assumption that everyone has taken a drink before? I really don’t fit in here.

My bedding from IKEA is cute though.

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The one bright part to the past forty-eight hours has been my interview for a marketing and communications assistant position at the Humber L Gallery. Even if I am not chosen, it was very exciting to meet the lovely ladies who work at the gallery and I even got to try the new interactive exhibit! Before my interview we walked around the campus; such pretty buildings!

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My outfit for the interview. A little mix of professional and play with white tailored shorts and a short-sleeved navy blue shirt. A belt from American Apparel and leather driving shoes from ASOS for a little brown that works so well with my MacBook sleeve which I totally used as a document holder.

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A shaken green iced tea for me, and a cinnamon dolce frappe for Daniela. Starbucks makes it better.