Samir Masri, Fabric Avenue President, Los Angeles, California Jan 07 2015
As a longtime vendor of fabrics to American Apparel, I can say that Dov Charney is one of the most talented people I have ever met in the clothing business or any other field. The immediacy of his perception and decision-making are unique: the minute I discuss something with him and ask him his opinion, right away he has the right answer. His ideas about business are especially acute. When I show him a fabric, he knows right away what he can do with it.
Since Dov’s departure, I miss the personal touch– he used to pick up the phone personally and call me, even if it was something his creative team was driving, he would put them on conference and introduce them. In another company I would not expect this to be the chief’s job, but Dov was always involved in everything.
When I heard the news of Dov’s firing, I was upset. Dov has great things he could accomplish for the company. His importance to the company is not only because he’s the one who started it. For example, one time, I saw him reviewing photos of some models for American Apparel advertisements, and the quickness of his judgment– whether it was the expression on the model’s face, their pose or something else– reflected a unique and decisive quality that has everything to do with the way American Apparel operates and has been successful, and for that reason I support his reinstatement as CEO.
As a vendor of fabric used by American Apparel in their clothing I have known Dov Charney since [what year?] In my experience he is solid, straightforward, diligent, sincere. He is a man of his word, he knows what he’s doing, and I actually believe he’s a genius.
Ideas come to Dov’s mind, design comes to his mind, he knows what he wants to do, he’s focused, he wants to get it done and he wants to get it done yesterday. This is where the genius comes from: to collaborate his creativity with productivity.
And it is this productivity that has declined in American Apparel since his dismissal as CEO of the company. When Dov was in charge, he was on top of everything, he basically lived and worked in the company 24 hours a day. Right now, that kind of leadership at the core is what they lack, and it can be seen in their level of efficiency and productivity.
When Dov was dismissed, I spoke to him and told him it was a terrible mistake. His response was that I should just continue to support the company. But it has been his vision and his presence that I have come to count on, and I feel that I should speak out. No one else understands the entirety of the business the way he does, from design to production to retail to efficiency. Over the years I’ve seen many businesses, but none that have established an empire like American Apparel’s in such a short period of time. I think people who like to criticize Dov disregard what he has been able to do.
I don’t know a single company that did not suffer as a result of the recession of 2008. But Dov was able to regroup and get back on track. And I believe that the company was going on the right course, but with his firing, I believe they have pushed back the company in a reverse course, and I urge that the board reinstall him as CEO.