The next time you’re in need of another pair of leggings, think twice before you go to American Apparel. The company’s discriminate hiring policies could fill your socks drawer.

Former employees wrote to Gawker giving us more reason to give the ‘all-American’ brand our fiercest side eye.

An American Apparel ex-manager was given specific instructions on the type of Black girl the company looks for during open casting calls:

“None of the trashy kind that come in, we don’t want that. we’re not trying to sell our clothes to them. Try to find some of these classy black girls, with nice hair, you know?”

For you natural hair undergrads looking to rock seemingly cool clothing for the coveted retail employee discount, it seems, surprisingly, American Apparel is looking for you.

“The other manager on the call with me later became a district manager, and at one point instructed me to tell two of my employees (both of whom happened to be black females) to stop straightening their hair. I refused to do this, but wondered if the mentality behind her request was related to what Dov had said.”

“Dov” is Dov Charney, the company’s eccentric owner and the mastermind behind the brand’s frequent soft porn ads. Seems Dov considers an afro ‘nice hair,’ and straight hair bad hair. This is a fascinating paradox for anyone remotely familiar with Black hair politics. A preference for natural hair could be considered progressive, but discriminating based on an employee’s hairstyle, or any other trait is never cool.

For more on American Apparel’s bizarre hiring practices, check out Gawker.

What do you think about the brand’s employee preferences? Share your thoughts with us!

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  • Chae

    @Kai: Um I’ll give you that the quote may have been SLIGHTLY out of context but that doesn’t get him a get free out of jail card. He could have simply said “that’s not the look we’re looking for” but instead he chose the word that started the whole fire which was “the trashy kind” sure the truth may have been stretched a bit But it doesn’t justify the statements quoted regardless of how Vague it may have been but I see it as a Completely Bias and Racist Remark don’t you?

  • Foxy Jayne

    @Kai I see what you are saying about the context in which the quotes were given. Although that is an assumption on your part, I can see your point of view.

    But I just have to say that if they were looking at the hair texture to see if it was “nice” how would the manager know what is “nice” hair? I don’t know if the manager is white or black or another race….but in white mainstream the ideal is straight hair so even if the person was latina, mixed, or ambiguous, the hair type, curly most often, is not the ideal for any race. It doesn’t matter if it is tightly coiled or big loose curls. I say all that to say that they do have a preference for textured/curly/coily hair…..but then again with the few quotes in this article it’s hard to make a definite judgment.

  • Vonzell

    In my opinion, American Apparel is overly expensive anyway for the quality/look of their clothes.

    I’m surprised to see natural preferred over straight by a professional company. I’m natural and I’m glad they respect our hair (Who else does?!), but they should not be calling straight-haired girls trashy. Wow.

  • Alex Shard

    Bunch of hypocrites commenting on this site. People saying “I would never shop at American Apparel” out of some high-minded policy regarding what you have taken out of context and branded as racism when in reality American Apparel are doing a lot of good in the clothing market place. They use NO sweatshop labour at all – how many of the other brands you wear can say that? I would hazard a guess at absolutely none. And while the policy of only hiring “good-looking people” is one that is slightly abhorrent, it’s one they share with most of major fashion retailers and which they find helps them sell clothes and helps them to maintain their business model which gives fair wages to every worker from the factories making the clothes (where workers can make upto $17/hour – compared to about $17/month for those making your H&M or even Hollister and A&F clothes).

  • Anna B

    I think since it’s a fashion company it’s expected that they would discriminate based on style and presentation. Anyone surprised by his preference for natural hair has obviously not noticed that his models all look like normal girls with average faces and bodies, and the fact that the mannequins are outfitted with full bush. His style preference is for the 70s. I’m sure he says the same offensive things about white, asian & latina girls too. Honestly, I can’t imagine a casting call for any fashion designer or company happening without anything offensive being said. As for working in the store, I am white, and I have worked in several different retail stores, day spas, bars & restaurants that have told me how to dress, wear my hair, makeup & fingernails, and banished away from the public eye when they didn’t approve of my look. That has nothing to do with race, that’s presenting an image, and if it’s discriminatory it’s gender discrimination more than anything else.