Since the earliest days, American Apparel has been pretty synonymous with music. It’s only fitting that — now as the brand rises from the ashes — music plays a big part in announcing their return.
Thursday night was the first of the On Tour With American Apparel series curated by ATC, with future stops coming to Nashville, New York, Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, and a final show in LA at the exclusive re-opening event of the first Gildan-owned brick-and-mortar American Apparel store on Melrose in Hollywood.
The kick-off event took place at the infamous Hollywood night spot No Vacancy, American Apparel brought together a crowd of a few hundred people for free drinks, free pizza, dope music, and of course, some sweet threads.
A crowd that featured a heavy dose of social media influencers filed into a gifting boutique and were able to claim two free items off the racks. I played an internal game where I tried to guess how many Instagram followers each person had. What was cool was the crowd was an eclectic mix — there were people of color, people with tattoos, and even some normies like myself. And most of all, people were cool. The vibe was chill, undoubtedly thanks to the free booze that was flowing.
I got there in time to catch Shey Baba, an LA artist that I was previously unfamiliar with. He’s got a helluva voice, he can unexpectedly hit some really high notes. It’s almost Thom Yorke-esque. “Requiem” was a song that got quite a response. It was only fitting that I discovered some new music at an American Apparel event — I remember always hearing something new I dug when I used to shop there.
The peak of the evening was when LA’s own four-piece rockers Warpaint took to the back porch of the venue for a riveting performance. One of my absolute favorite bands to see live, they didn’t pull back for this performance one bit. They’ve always had the kind of personal style that pairs well with what American Apparel is known for.
They’re also four of the most bad ass musicians around, and they played a half-dozen songs from across their various releases. It was cool to see a crowd that may have been unfamiliar with their work jamming out and feeling the deep grooves of their rhythm section Stella Mozgawa and Jenny Lee Lindberg and mesmerizing vocals from Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal. The crowd grooved especially to “Love is to Die”, a song I remember gaining traction from a Calvin Klein commercial.
Afterwards, a DJ spun familiar songs until the bar shut down. If this is how these On Tour With American Apparel events are gonna go, sign me up to be a roadie. Just pay me in free drinks and free clothes and we’re good. Keep a lookout for announcements on events in a city near you, and for the official announcement of the opening of the Melrose store.
American Apparel has always been more than a clothing brand. As a music fan, I always appreciated the eclectic taste — you could hear anything from indie rock to pulsating electronic music when shopping in their stores. The mix of performers Thursday night has me believing we can expect that same kind of experience when the store on Melrose opens up. You certainly don’t get that when shopping online.
Photos courtesy of American Apparel