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The rise and fall of American Apparel

I’ve been catching up on a lot of old podcasts recently and finally had a chance to listen to the StartUp podcast’s 7-episode arc on American Apparel (originally broadcast in late 2016).

It begins as a profile of Dov Charney, the founder and former CEO of American Apparel, who is trying to launch a new clothing business. But as it dives deeper and deeper into Charney’s history, it provides a level of detail and insight that goes beyond the headlines. Charney comes off as enterprising, sharp and hard-working, but also completely self-delusional and self-destructive.

There is some tape in this series that blew me away — several gut punches that I did not see coming. It was riveting. I think I enjoyed this series more than I did S-Town, which is widely regarded as a game-changer in terms of long-form podcast storytelling.

Producer and host Lisa Chow should be proud of what she accomplished here. I’ve linked to all 7 parts below.

Listen to Part 1 here. 

Listen to Part 2 here.

Listen to Part 3 here.

Listen to Part 4 here.

Listen to Part 5 here.

Listen to Part 6 here.

Listen to Part 7 here.

You can also subscribe to the StartUp podcast on Apple Podcasts.

  • Garrett Vernon

    Love this series. As a former employee of American Apparel, I can attest to his erratic, unconventional, and at times unprofessional behavior. But at the same time, I can’t help but root for him on his new venture. It’s a really weird cocktail of emotions that I can’t quite put into words, but this podcast does a great job of showing it. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • The podcast definitely highlights both his good and bad qualities in a very humanizing way. I was rooting for him and horrified by him in equal measure. A sign of a good podcast, imho.

  • Mountain_of_Conflict

    I love the whole arc, but I really LOVE the confrontation between one of the reporters and her boyfriend. Seems almost uncut from the actual conversation.