American Apparel is shaping up for a comeback. It might be a steep climb: due to declaring bankruptcy, the brand was omitted from L2’s most recent Digital IQ Index, after earning a ranking of Average in the 2016 edition. But the brand was acquired by Gildan Activewear and is now re-emerging with a digitally-fueled marketing approach.
In addition to plans to bring back stores, the brand is focusing on social media—specifically influencers. In the past, the brand didn’t pay influencers, opting to simply repost and repurpose their content alongside model images that were often retouched and racy. The new website takes a less controversial approach, integrating social posts by and interviews with lesser-known (and less scantily dressed) influencers. An associated Instagram campaign,#AAblog, spotlights artists and musicians decked out in the basic styles that made the brand iconic.
The brand’s decision to focus on Instagram makes sense, as the platform accounts for the vast majority of consumer interactions with retailers. However, if the retailer still isn’t paying its influencers, this could be a problem. Without a structured influencer program to match the brand’s new vibe, American Apparel runs the risk of rendering a murky identity once again.