Kevin Belk, Small Business Owner, Charleston, SC Jan 25 2015

I met Dov in 1996. I was cutting his hair here in Charleston South Carolina when American Apparel was very young. Even at that early stage I was impressed by his journey. The sacrifices he had made and dedication to learning the textile industry. He had a vision and focus. I knew he was going to do something big. He moved and I didn’t see him for many years.

Then out of nowhere, American Apparel became a top brand. In my opinion the American Apparel brand is on the level of Nike and Apple except it’s made in America. Our country needs more people like Dov. I am fourth generation in my family to work in textiles. Over half of my home town worked in textiles. At the time Dov was building his textile business here in America, other leading textile companies was literally taking all the manufacturing jobs out of the USA. I worked in a dye house in a textile factory after high school on the third shift. I had been told my whole life how horrible it was to work in the cotton mill. I have heard slave labor labeled to the textile industry in the southeast decades before Dov said it to Vice. Then in 1992 over half of my hometown was unemployed. Nearly every mill in South & North Carolina closed over a few years. I have wondered why our political leaders here in the southeast could have invested in Dov to save the industry that provided for almost everyone. Our country needs more people like Dov.

He has revolutionized the textile industry and has inspired so many to bring their own made in America ideas into fruition and create affluence and jobs. He inspired me to start my own business and I am proud of the jobs I have created and who I have hired. He from the beginning has been a pioneer and activist modern day cultural and civil change. In my opinion he was the first voice anyone could hear speaking on labor practices, gay marriage, immigration post year 2k. Now our country is making progress on theses issues and no one is giving him credit for that.

It’s obvious when there is success and affluence there is vultures and hyenas and snakes and lawyers and lawsuits. No one was suing him before the major successes he’s accomplished. Most peoples problem with him seems to be self inflicted. Why invest in him and American Apparel if you can’t be accountable for your own actions and decisions? Investing is a risk business. You can’t turn and blame others to the extent of making them extinct. You can’t separate Dov Charney from American Apparel. It’s like a butterfly without wings. A unicorn without a horn. Try it with out him or do it with him. Copy his plan and move on. It absurd to separate the two. He’s a genius. That’s why people invest in him. His journey, vision and success is inspiring. Hard as it is to create something on AA level, it hard to see this activity as only another disincentive to create something great that ultimately helps people and creates jobs. Let’s hope this can be obvious to all that is another flaw in how the USA can’t have large business function successfully here. It’s sad to see investors and lawyers extort a great American brand.

Kevin Belk