American Apparel Hires New Menswear Designer

The new executives at American Apparel are redesigning their design team.

Weeks after firing creative directors Iris Alonzo and Marsha Brady, the Los Angeles company made a big hire in March by bringing on board Joe Pickman, a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York and the former men’s design director of the quirky Band of Outsiders label.

The hire is a different direction for American Apparel—known for its basic clothing sold in its 239 retail stores and other outposts. Band of Outsiders has a different design sense based in preppy clothes with an odd twist sold at high-end stores such as Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue. Band of Outsiders was launched more than a decade ago in Los Angeles by Scott Sternberg.

“We’re working on bringing our menswear business back, as this category has tremendous potential. The addition of Joe Pickman, who has worked for some of fashion’s leading brands, is a great win for American Apparel,” said the company’s new chief executive, Paula Schneider.

Recently, Schneider fired nearly 200 employees as a cost-cutting measure after the clothing venture’s fourth-quarter earnings showed a net loss of $28 million on $153.5 million in revenues. Most of the fired employees were in the company’s downtown LA clothing factory, where 3,000 garment production people work.

All these changes come after American Apparel’s founder and former chief executive was dismissed in December after an investigation into alleged financial misconduct and sexual harassment.

The firings prompted Hermandad Mexicana, a nonprofit immigrant workers’ rights group, to issue a press release criticizing the terminations at a time when four of the company’s top executives were awarded shares and stock options.

In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the workers’ rights group said Schneider received 300,000 shares and 350,000 stock options valued at $350,000. Chief Financial Officer Hassan Natha was issued 200,000 shares and 150,000 stock options valued at $200,000 while General Counsel Chelsea Grayson, a new hire, was issued 200,000 shares and 150,000 stock options worth $200,000. Chief Manufacturing Officer Marty Bailey was issued 82,750 shares and 82,750 stock options valued at $91,025.

American Apparel’s stock has been trading at around 66 cents a share.