Leanne Hebert-Nguyen, Product Developer and Senior Creative, New York/Los Angeles Jan 19 2015
I have worked for American Apparel for over 8 years. Essentially speaking, Dov Charney is key to the functioning of the company. Since his being forced out, everything has become more difficult in terms of getting things done. Every department relies up on him. As a creative executive, I believe it makes sense to report to him and not some manager, since he has been present in the business my entire time here. If I had questions about retail or graphics, or any aspect of my department, I could rely upon him. This is not just me– I have colleagues who have been working for the company for 7 years who have all been trained to work this way, and we were not dissatisfied.
In recent months, there has been a lot of confusion: suddenly, the interim CEO didn’t even know who I was. He came to me asking how I wanted to be evaluated, and this made me feel devalued. Without Dov’s oversight, all the departments begin fighting over who has more power. Further, from my experience working in the stores, I can see how much speed and efficiency has been lost in his absence. Dov is the creator and voice of the American Apparel brand, and when you let go of that, you dilute the vision and coherence of its products and identity. Here, employees have the freedom of learning and the ability to advance. Dov wants his employees to learn the same way he learns. There is a beauty to it– he makes people understand what retail and what creativity are.