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I have been to the American Apparel stores in Bristol and London. The Bristol one was alright and pretty big, the London one seemed bigger than the Bristol one and was also a great store - When I go shopping in both these cities I always head to the American Apparel stores.
American Apparel sells fashionable basics, they are sweatshop free and made in the USA. The hooded jackets are my favourite, they are great quality - I regularly wear my blue/grey coloured one. I own many hooded jackets and t-shirts from American Apparel. The t-shirts are good because they are long, they aren't expensive, they go with anything and they are good quality. The only downside of American Apparel is that everyone copies it and doesn't do it at the same high standard as they do.
I love the American Apparel sales because they do large discounts. Justin Beiber has made the American Apparel hooded jackets become very popular among teenagers.
Thanks for reading, O.
What is American Apparel?
American Apparel is an American clothing company, which in recent years has made the transition to the UK, and really gained in popularity. The store specialises in producing colourful and simple 'basics' which are usually very versatile. Another important aspect about the chain is that all their clothing is made sweatshop free, which I suppose is why the prices are a little higher than most other high street stores. As well as opening plenty of retail stores across the UK, their clothes are also available to buy online.
Where can I find them?
Plenty of places! Unfortunately there isn't one in Sheffield just yet but stores can currently be found in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton, London, Nottingham, Glasgow, and Birmingham. Hopefully they will continue to expand as I would love to have one here!
What type of clothes can I find there?
Well, as I previously mentioned, American Apparel essentially only produces basic items, such as simple t-shirts, jersey skirts, leggings, as well as underwear. They also stock a good range of dresses, which range from 'bodycon' to skater style. Each style of dress usually comes in a whole rainbow of colours, so you are sure to be able to find something you like. My particular favourite is the 'Le Sac' dress, which is a really versatile dress with long straps that can be worn in a variety of ways, from a Grecian style dress, to a little one shouldered number. The price is relatively high for such a simple dress, coming in at £34.00, but because the quality is really very good, and because the dress can be worn in various styles, I think it's a worthy investment piece.
A lot of their clothing is known for being really sexy, and almost a little provocative, so it is really up to the individual to style these pieces in their own unique way. I could see how some people would view a couple of the items as a little 'trashy' and I am inclined to agree - the hot pants in particular don't leave much to the imagination!
I honestly think that the quality of the clothing from American Apparel is generally very high. I've had a number of t-shirts, skirts, and dress from them, and they are still going strong years later. The fabric seems to wash very well, and doesn't get all bobbly which is a pet peeve of mine.
Ultimately, I think most people would be able to find something they like in AA, even if it is just a good quality pair of leggings.
What are the stores like?
I love the visual merchandising in AA, all of the shops I've visited seem really bright and clean inside, and they definitely look a little different to most other shops on the high street. If I had to choose a couple of words to describe the shops, I would say sporty and preppy. Each store I've visited has had a clear layout, and always seems well packed with clothes, so it's easy to find what you're after.
The staff in AA always seem extremely trendy and cool, so I was a little intimidated to shop there to start with, but they always seem friendly enough so it wouldn't put me off shopping there.
I think this is the one thing that would put people off shopping at AA. The prices are usually higher than places such as H&M or River Island, and since you are only buying 'basic' items, it seemingly might not be worth the cost. A Unisex V neck t-shirt will set you back around £17.00, and some jersey leggings cost £24.00 - which I think is fairly high. I think one thing you need to take into account when considering the prices, is that all of these items are ethically made in L.A. rather than in a sweatshop. I don't know everything about AA's company policy, but it's nice to know that the workers are at least getting a fair wage for the job they do.
If you can't make it to an AA store, then I'd recommend shopping online with them. I believe you get 15% off your first online order, which is rather good! Normal shipping is £4.00 for orders under £85.00, over that amount and it's free. They quite often have various offers, and a sale section of the website, so it is possible to pick up a bargain on the odd occasion.
I'd definitely recommend having a visit to an AA store if you get the chance to, the clothes aren't the cheapest, but they are good quality and ethical, which is reason enough in my opinion.
American apparel- i have been lucky enough to go to both to the cabot circus one, but also the oxford street one, the location of both are perfect, so much business as you can imagine, the one definate difference in the two was the friendliness of the staff, the oxford street one the staff were not as helpful and friendly, where as in the bristol one they are smiley and cheerful, helping you out throughout your shop if you need them.
i found this difference very apparent as my home town is very near bristol and people seemed much happier.
the clothing in american apparel is probably one of my favourites as the fabrics are so lovely to wear on your skin, the colours are also very attractive as they are not the usual shades of say red, blue, or green, they are unusual and different making them more attractive and appealing.
definately worth a visit in cabot circus bristol soon !
I was so excited when this cult brand finally arrived in Manchester. I had browsed the website many times and had lusted over a number of items but prefer to try before I buy!
On arrival in Manchester I was disappointed. It is in a great location, near urban outfitters and all saints. The store looks fab but what really impressed me is the staff - very helpful and friendly.
The stock is quirky and cool - very 80s inspired. The range of colours is phonemonal - so much choice! I eventually settled for one of the cult hoodies. A bit expensive AT £38 but worth it for the colour and style.
However, I have to admit that I was very disappointed after a couple of washes. It went very bobbly and lost the softness that I had loved. I followed the washing instructions to the letter! I thought I would end up buying one in every colour but I have been a bit put off. A couple of my friends said the same.
My only other gripe is the no refunds policy - very annoying for gift purchases!
I have been to two American Apparels in the UK - the AA on Oxford Street, and the AA in Cabot Circus, Bristol. I browsed the products on Oxford Street but actually made a purchase at Cabot Circus, so my review will be based on that.
Despite visiting Bristol often, we had never been to the 'new' Cabot Circus, and only made our first trip this past month. I had been eyeing a number of AA products on the website - the fleece zip hoodie, and the pleated school girl skirt - so I decided to go in and finally try them on and see if they were actually worth the extra money.
The staff were incredibly helpful when I went in - I am very petite (which is one of the reasons I am such a big fan of AA - the sizes run true and go to the smallest sizes) so I went straight to one of the girls working to ask her if they had an XXS in stock. They actually happened to have one on the racks in the front of the store, but she was very polite about it and still helped me find it. Later, when I was having my items rung up, I inquired about yoga bottoms, and the boy ringing me up offered to put my purchases aside so I could look at the yoga products they had - and then pay for everything together. This was on a Sunday afternoon, mind, when the store wasn't exactly full to capacity but it wasn't exactly empty, either. When I came back yoga-trouser-less, he was just as genial and completed my purchase happily.
This was a marked difference from my experience of AA stores in the US - where the staff were typically too-cool-for-school and let you know it.
I was incredibly happy with my experience at the Cabot Circus American Apparel and will definitely be back in the future.
An American Apparel store opened in Bristol Cabot Circus almost a year ago, and I think I was one of the very first customers. I have seen the store in other cities, such as London, and am aware of the status the store carries abroad in the US.
The shop itself is very clean and modern looking, with lovely large windows at the front, dotted with the colourful designs available inside. This invariably drags me in when i'm not supposed to be spending money thought, which isn't good! The staff are all very polite inside and often ask if you need any help. Note that this isn't over the top as it can be in some stores, and is just if you've been in there a long time and they are genuinely wondering if they can help you out. The staff are all also dressed in the store clothes and therefore look rather trendy. The brand of American Apparel is well conveyed in this store at least and seems to sell the "trendy lifestyle" as well as the clothes themselves.
The items themselves range from baby grows to grown up tops, trousers and accessories. My personal favourites are the hoodies available in store, which come in so many colourful patterns and styles, meaning I have six for different outfits! They are extremely soft inside and do the job. While the quality is undeniably high, I do find that the prices match. I think they are a touch on the expensive side, particularly for the plain items, and some would argue (if they weren't aware of the high quality) that you could purchase something that looks identical in another shop for more than half the price. They do also offer a student discount, which is well worth noticing for those student bargain hunters among us!
Shopping in American Apparel is a pleasant experience. The store and staff are nice and the range of items is high. This means the shop is suitable for a wide range of people, from trendy to the looking for practical items, such as myself. I would highly recommend the store in Bristol's Cabot Circus in particular as it's my local.
American Apparel is a "sweatshop-free" retailer that has long been very successful in the US and now has branches open worldwide. Their marketing has become very well known in the advertising world- showing plain models wearing simple garments, in average location but with very suggestive poses (think a mix of Bennetton and Sisley ads you may have seen).
AA's style is very simple, almost minimalist (think plain colours, pattern free) but don't be fooled into thinking they haven't put a lot of work into the cut and detail of each piece. Their signature piece the "Ways to Wear It" dress is an example of this- a simple looking dress that can actually be worn 15+ different ways, with examples helpfully detailed on the product page.
This is my main quibble with AA- all the garments are very expensive for what looks like a very basic piece of clothing- but you have to remember you're paying for the cut, the shape, the longevity of the garment and also for the fact no people are exploited in the making of the garment. An example of prices would be around £30+ for a dress, £12 for tights, £30 for leggings, £40+ for jeans. If these prices are too much though I'd recomment checking their sales often or trying to buy their stuff secondhand on Ebay.
Also look for voucher codes online as you can usually get 10-15% off by just having a Google.
America Apparel stock sizes labelled "XS", "S", "M" etc, which I suppose makes for easier stocking but also makes fitting a little less precise than stocking exact dress sizes. However I would recommend reading the reviews of whichever particular item you're looking to buy, as people often post their measurements and what size they bought to give you some idea when getting your own.
STORES & WEBSITE
I have to say I've never visited one of their stores in person so can only tell me about my experience with their website. The website is brilliant, very easy to navigate and each product page shows each garment in a great amount of detail- in different colours, views, angles and even showing reviews of each item for you to find out more.
American Apparel is a very unique store. You may love it, you may hate it, you may wear only AA, you may have one item, but you definitely won't forget it!
This shop is all about fashionable basics. There was a gap in the market for really tight 'hipster' clothes- you don't need patterns and embellishments to look hot! You can really make these clothes your own.
The cuts and colours are really considered. They don't just churn out fast fashion pieces, they produce line that they aim to produce for a long length of time. Their clothes aren't for the faint hearted, most are very form fitting. Some are quite extreme!
Their website really builds the brand, they have lots of detailed photos and you can look at the feedback for each item. They have almost totally ethical practices and promote good causes too.
There has been some media hype about the CEO's practices and a even a few sexual assault cases, so this company really is something else.
I buy because the clothes are second to none. The quality is impeccable. The stretch and shape of clothes does not change with washing- so they slightly higher prices are definitely worth it!
You may not favour the almost totally plain clothing though, and the store can seem a bit pretentious. I've found the SAs to be very helpful, but some, especially the male staff, can seem quite snobbish and 'too cool'. Don't be scared though, once you take the American Apparel plunge, you won't go back!
American Apparel have many stores, usually in busy highstreets in cities such as London. The clientele are generally quirky, indie students. However they have a wide fan base and versatile products.
The clothes are split into 'men,' 'women,' and 'unisex.' I find it odd that you may see a man and a woman in the same clothes, but the designs are lovely and suit both men and women.
American Apparel is mostly about great designs in block colour. This is good because usually it's not a statement piece, so you can wear it endlessly without feeling repetitive! Most garments come in every colour of the rainbow! Brights and matt colours, giving you a huge selection to choose from.
Although some products are simple, and you could probably buy them in other shops, in similar versions, you pay for quality and your clothes last for a long time. Also. Some pieces are iconic and great value for money.
The staff are lovely and helpful, the shops are set out in a nice way, and there's a good atmosphere. Great shop.
Without sounding too much of a loser all I can say is American Apparel is VERY cool! The offer all the standard basic clothes, such as t-shirts and shorts etc, some slightly altered versions, such as longer tees, skirts with pockets etc, and some very quirky clothing like their wonderful bright leggings. Yes for what some of the items are it can be deemed quite expensive, but the convenience of having all basic items in all colours in one place is amazing! It has a quite young and cool-kid vibe to the stores and lines but if you look really there is something for everyone. I recently bought one of their jersey skirts in grey only to go back a few weeks later and purchase it in black! Really impressed with their offerings. Wish the staff were a little friendlier as they are ever so slightly intimidating, also would be better if the prices werent so high but overall it is a brilliant store that I'll definitely be going to a lot more in the future!
Recently I've been lucky enough to visit the American Apparel store in Liverpool One, a location that is ideal for such a strong yet basic fashion brand.
The biggest advantage to this and the reason why I will suggest to always go to their nearest store instead of risking the internet site is that you'll actually get your goods as the internet service from American Apparel is notoriously bad.
I'll assume that all the stores have the same basic layout/service standards but this review describes exactly my experience at the Liverpool On store and a little bit about the people behind this brand.
American Apparel has become a fashion staple, frequently featured in Look, Elle and any other fashion magazine you could care to name. Celebrities have jumped onto the 'fashion basics with edge' bandwagon and American Apparel is currently expanding their business here.
In a time where Primark is sweeping up on the high street, it seems strange that a store that sells hooded sweatshirts for forty pounds is doing well enough and I can only put it down to more conscious ethically based choices being made by their customer base who are probably in 16 -25 bracket.
There is a actual reason for these prices - the company based in Los Angeles provides a fair wage for their workers as well as a host of nice benefits (free bikes, childcare, healthcare, etc) which all have to passed down onto us, the consumer. They use Fairtrade materials, limit their impact on the environment and use 'ordinary' models (although the head of the company has a tendency to make sexualised ads - you can't deny that they work and confirm what everyone knows anyway - sex sells!). A company where everyone benefits.
How exactly do we benefit? Well, apart from the fuzzy feeling you might get knowing that no-one has died to make your t-shirt, you're getting a very high quality products. I've never been disappointed with anything from American Apparel and I've bought a lot of things from here.
Back to the store, it's laid out spookily alike to a Nike or JJB Sports - all white and chrome and plastic fittings. Multicoloured variations of each garment are grouped together but here isn't any particular theme to the layout which is a little frustrating - skirts aren't all grouped together, etc - but it's easy enough to find your way around. The manniquins are well put together, showing you combinations and uss of clothing you wouldn't have imagined and here and there, are offering of jewelry (very ugly, unfortunately) and magazines of questionable content.
The sizing of the clothes is not exctly generous - bodysuits and the such cannot be returned so it's best to try things on if you can. The changing rooms are very well lit but not exactly flattering. Generally, the unisex sizes if you're a women work so you buy a size down from your 'AA' size. I'm a size twelve and fit early everything in a Medium comfortably. My mother, a much larger lady, fits some of their X-Large.
The style is very basic - basic t-shirts, basic yoga pants, etc - all in a variety of colours and/or patterns but they're generally very well-made and the cuts are extremely flattering - there's at least one item that everyone could use in their wardrobes as a staple. So, it has mass appeal and can be dressed up or down. Another plus for a student who needs to keep their clothing budget down but also needs to consider quality.
The staff at the Liverpool one store are mostly male, dressed in American Apparel, friendly once you attract their attention and obviosuly feel a lot of pride in their product and display good product knowledge. By not stenciling their ethics all over the walls ala Lush, they've become a stronger fashion brand and are actively seeking a larger customer base (in my opinion) that will be attracted by the look and maybe re-think the perception that hippies just wear clothes made out of hemp and fairtrade, organic, environmentally friendly does not mean boring!
A fabulous place if you want to buy your wardrobe basics (plain tees and hoodies are their speciality) and don't want to have the guilt of world poverty and child labour on your shoulders. All of American Apparel's clothes are made by American people in America, and judging by some of the heinous prices that they charge for these clothes, they're paying someone a decent wage (well, I hope they are, poor swines). The stores are nicely laid out, and most things are unisex, but this is quite irritating if you're just looking for a t shirt that will nicely fit a little woman like myself. I love their colours and their window displays are always cute. My only gripe with this place is the staff. All clearly hired on their attention to detail and their big interest... in themselves. Seriously. You have never seen the like. Usually quite unhelpful, dressed insanely and wearing ridiculous specs that they don't need.
Over the past couple of years, the popularity of American Apparel has increased quite considerably, and it is a shop often name-checked by magazines such as Elle and Vogue when they are talking about where to buy your "staple" garments. This is because American Apparel is a shop which predominantly stocks what I would term 'luxurious basics': loads of cotton T-shirts and vests in varying styles & in many colours, without patterns on them. Though this is what they stock the most of, they also sell other items such as cardigans, leotards (and general 'dance wear'), skirts, jeans, dresses and shorts.
American Apparel first opened a shop in my city about a year ago. It has a very clean and modern feel to it due to its white decor, spacious floor, and bright lighting. The lighting can feel a little harsh though. The changing rooms are a decent size with big mirrors which offer you a great view of whatever you're trying on. The music in the shop is generally a little try-hard; they will either be playing obscure dance music, or they will try to be ironic by playing 80s music. The shopping experience there overall is a pleasant one, marred only by the fact that the staff are almost always extremely pretentious and quite unhelpful. This has been the case in every American Apparel shop I have been in. Their rudeness is tolerable if you're shopping with friends, but when alone it can make for quite a disconcerting experience.
I always find the shop to be well-stocked though, and it's the clothes I go there for anyway, not the shopping experience! When going there for the first time after hearing many good things about the shop, you may at first be confused by all the fuss, since all the garments look...well...plain. To get past this, just grab some things from the rails and try the damn things on! You will find yourself being seduced by the fact that almost everything in the shop comes in around 10 colours. Then, you will be mesmerised by how soft the clothes feel, and how they flatter your body. Be warned though: some things sold here are quite clingy and are not for the body conscious.
I find this a great shop to go to when you're looking for things to wear with a statement piece you might have bought somewhere else. For instance, I like to wear a beautiful embellished top with a plain black high waisted skirt from American Apparel. Or I'll dress down jeans & heels with an American Apparel oversized cotton T-shirt. That's not to say that they don't stock their own statement pieces though; the brave of you could try out their shiny gold leggings!
Most shops sell womens, mens, and kids clothes. Some of the clothes are unisex, which is fine by me as it means I've got more to choose from.
The prices are reasonably expensive considering most of the clothes are quite basic pieces. The reason for this, though, is that the company pays its manufacturing employees well and doesn't use cheap labour. When taking this into account, I think their prices are justifiable. The price of a T-shirt will generally vary between £12 and £18, skirts are on average £25, and knitwear is usually between £20 to £30. Because so many of the things in the shop will go with other things in your wardrobe, you will find yourself wearing items over and over, which reduces the cost-per-wear considerably.
The garments are generally good quality; everything I've bought so far has retained its shape and hasn't ripped or anything. I haven't tried their thinner, looser tanks or T-shirts though, which look a bit more flimsy.
I would highly recommend trying out the clothes from American Apparel- just stride on past the sales assistants and pretend they're not there!
American Apparel has stores worldwide, selling a range of dance-inspired basics, which come in every colour under the sun. The stores all have a uniform look, with minimalist fixtures and a warehouse kind of feel. Among the clothes for women, men and children, they also sell arty books, accessories and sunglasses.
I find the staff in here super-trendy, and slightly aloof, but that doesn't matter, as I love the clothes and still feel comfortable shopping there.
I feel like all kinds of people can shop here for basics such as t-shirts, jeans and bits for the gym. However, you may find that some of the spandex stuff, like lthe 80's inspired eotards and leggings is more unforgiving for those who don't have a dancers body. They can be great for fancy dress though. I am a fan of the unisex t-shirts and scoop back tops, and some of the shorts and skirts are light and great for holidays. There's something here that can work for everyone of any age and size, and you don't have to wear it head to toe like some of the people i've seen.
Prices are a bit much for some of the items, such as the Mélange Jersey Pocket Skirt being £25 (and far less in America) but at least they are all ethically produced in the U.S.A. They don't outsource factories other than their own and treat their workers well and pay them above the minimum wage. I think this is the way forward for shops, and some of the prices are pretty reasonable considering. I like the fact that everything comes in loads of colours, especially my faves like bright blues and purples as well as more conventional colours if your skin tone isn't up to it. Most of the clothes can be unisex, which can also give a more authentic fit for things like hoodies and shirts.
I feel like I should write about my experiences with the online store, as I tend to have a few problems there. The site's availability of some items doesn't seem to be updated regularly, so you may order something, look forward to receiving it, then later find it was actually out of stock and they don't know when they can get any more in. This happened to me and after I complained, I was given the part of my order that did arrive for free. This then happened again when they sent me the wrong item and then refunded me, when I specifically asked to just be sent the top I ordered. So I've basically had a lot of free items from this store, due to them messing up, but I'm glad they sorted it out in this way as not many other stores would do it. I only tend to use the online store, as they often have newsletter and student discounts there, but if they rolled this out into to store then I would use them more.
I think that AA has got something right here, with it's basics in numerous colours and ethical fashion, but just needs to work on the accuracy of it's website and availabilty of discounts and promotions. I am glad though that they're bringing one to Nottingham, so I can get my fix up North!
Adapted from my trusted places review; this is my first suggestion!