American Oak

img_4022-412While technically yesterday’s post of Frances O’Leary’s video was exclusive to the WordPress site, today is officially the grand opening of kOs’ new home. So welcome! I’ve been depriving myself of real coffee for the sake of a tightened budget (a ridiculous decision which will be repealed in about 3 hours), so this first official post on the new site might cause a rule to be made that I should not post without reaching the appropriate level of caffeination. Nonetheless, I just read that American Apparel has bought OAK NYC, and I need to react. Why? Well, yes, American Apparel is technically one of the more ethical big labels given that they are made in the US and are (supposedly) sweatshop-free. And, yes, I’ve bought a number of standard items there. But, in the words of Toki Wartooth, boy, I really hates it. As in I loathe going into an American Apparel store. I do not want to generalize, but in the three AA stores I have been in in the last few years, practically all of the staff has had the same bizarre take on what customer service means, at least customer service to a non-hipster like myself. I would much rather order something from the AA online shop even though there’s a brick-and-mortar AA store literally 6 blocks away from my door, just so I don’t have to go there. They also have horrid horrid change rooms.

On the other hand, I have made an effort every time I have been to NY to go to OAK, and set aside part of my spending budget to buy an OAK piece (carefully checking that it’s an OAK piece made in the US and not China). So now that AA owns OAK, do I still make the effort? Perhaps this merger will be good for keeping OAK’s production within the US since some items of their label are/have been made elsewhere. And, if OAK is allowed to keep carrying other designers, the merger will potentially benefit small designers such as Laura Siegel. However, indie companies getting larger and larger makes me fear that decisions will be made in favour of making money over sticking to their ethical guns. So, is it necessary to still support a once-indie company when they’re bought and run by a larger company? Or, is my prejudice against AA and the desire to not be dressed like all of the hipsters in my town a valid reason to no longer shop at OAK? Of course, none of this matters since I won’t be able to afford a trip to NY or an article of clothing any time soon, but, you know. Sigh.

(Photo of my last OAK purchase, a ridiculously comfy unisex cotton tee)