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Monday, January 19, 2009

Deep-Sixing Deep V's: American Apparel in the Mission

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2009 at 11:39 AM


The inevitable backlash against the proposed American Apparel store at 988 Valencia Street is coming to a slow boil. The store's inception is unsurprising, as a quick survey of foot traffic on Valencia will reveal more than a few people sporting the company's wares. The storefront sits next to experimental video and film venue, Artists' Television Access, and was home to Mark Sanchez's campaign office during his recent bid for District 9 supervisor. Today, a formalized campaign against the controversial peddler of monochromatic hipster gear and advertising smut materialized in the shape of a Word Press blog with local author Stephen Elliott's name attached.

A statement by Elliott reads in part: "This is not about being for or against American Apparel. It's about keeping big box chain stores out of a unique neighborhood."

The site offers the fledgling  movements' first poster, which predicts that the opening of the store will "create a benchhead for the entry of The Gap, Banana Republic, and Starbucks and all other chains waiting to open on Valencia Street." A Stop American Apparel event will take place at Valencia Street watering hole, Amnesia, on Feb 2. Dare we wish for a piñata in American Apparel boss Dov Charney's likeness?

While the opening of any store of a smiliar ilk would undoubtedly spark debate in the Mission (former supe Tom Ammiano proposed a controversial chain store ban back in May) the AA store seems to have hit a sensitive nerve. Decorated with prone, larger-than-life, gamine models clothed in little more than panties and gym socks and catering to a youthful demographic with disposable income, AA seems like a monument to the twentysomething crowd that many would point to as directly contributing to the slow but steady gentrification of the Mission.

This leaves some Mission residents in a unique quandry: Is it acceptable to protest the opening of an American Apparel store while wearing a sheer jersey short-sleeve deep V-neck? Have we met the enemy, and is she us (wearing gold lamé)?

Whether you're for or against, you can make your opinion known at the planning commission meeting February 5 at 1:30 pm in Room 400 at City Hall.

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Andy Wright


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