American Apparel ceased trading in Australia on Sunday. Here, Madeleine Ryan struggles to say goodbye.
If my twenties could wear an outfit, they would alternate between American Apparel Disco Shorts and American Apparel Disco Pants. And back again, in different colours. Red, black, blue. Red, black, blue.
Oh, American Apparel. How I’ll miss you.
Or maybe I won’t. Our relationship wasn’t always smooth sailing. Buying garments from you was like trying on different pieces of myself to see what fit and, often, nothing did.
Nevertheless, I worked hard at getting the different fragments to coagulate – very hard indeed. There were times when I wore nothing but your clothes. I’m an extremely loyal beast. Friends would text me pictures of themselves shopping in your store because they knew I’d appreciate it; you’ve been my rather awkward home away from home. I suspect, much like the chicken and the egg, a piece of myself became you – not the other way around.
At one point I even applied for a job in your Chapel Street store and enthusiastically jumped through all the elaborate hoops to fit the bill: full body shots in your clothes, a bio, a quirky cover letter, a CV, an interview, another interview, references. I desperately shape-shifted into what I thought you would want me to be but, alas, there was one part of me that wouldn’t change: anaphylaxis when exposed to full-time hours.
Though this wasn’t personal, it was our downfall. It led me into the arms of an acting studio, which just as readily messed with my sense of identity and vortex-like need for validation. Either way, I had it coming. If it wasn’t you, it was going to be Strasberg.