Too few deviations from the standard fare but overall a solid enough season.
For a retailer known for its ‘one style, a million colours’ approach to design, there is surprising variety in what is on show in this store. Among the plain T-shirts, hoodies and socks are some interesting uses of herringbone and marls across knits and sweats, velour jumpers and wool bombers. Yet the basics still dominate - they are American Apparel’s bread and butter - and as such the collection feels slightly disjointed, with hipster touches seeming incongruous to the cleaner cut preppy items.
This is American Apparel’s big issue - flannel shirts are £53 but not a patch on Uniqlo’s designs, while a basic sweat at £33 and basic thermal at £26 are similarly expensive compared with the Japanese retailer’s versions. Stonewashed jeans are £74, which is hardly competitive considering the younger audience American Apparel attracts. The outerwear options are interesting enough but lack the lower entry price points. However, quality is better than a great deal of Topman and River Island pieces, so in that respect you get what you pay for.
The usual white wire racks and old-school thrift store rails are packed in and are absolutely crammed with stock, making browsing a bit of a chore. It is also off-putting to see information cards depicting women sporting products apparently on the rails below, especially when styles don’t appear unisex. This also raises the question of whether a ‘medium’ is a women’s or men’s medium. Staff are just the right side of friendly and helpful. Window styling is simple but uninspired.