As Paula Schneider, American Apparel’s recently installed CEO, starts implementing her big new plan to pull the company out of its deep financial hole, she is carefully evaluating and defining who the brand’s customer is.
“That was my first question,” she told Quartz in a recent interview. “Who are we designing for? Who is this girl? Who is this woman?”
The brand’s newly formed women’s design team responded by creating three “psychographic” profiles, as Schneider calls them, of female American Apparel customers. They “did these mood boards that were super cool,” she says. Three customer types got one, complete with imagined narratives about their lives. The profiles offer some insight into how American Apparel sees its shoppers, as well as its design plans for the future.
Here they are, along with photos provided by American Apparel representing each:
“The classic girl”
The narrative for this high-school aged American Apparel shopper centered on a text to her friends. “It said, ‘Hi, I’m Chloe,’ Schneider says. “She’s 16 years old, and she’s writing to her friends about what she’s doing in school that week and what she’s going to do on the weekend—and her boyfriend.”
“The classic woman”
The psychographic the designers dubbed the “classic woman” matches most of American Apparel’s corporate staff, according to Schneider. “This is the girl who’s 25 to 35,” she says. “She’s grown up with the brand. She loves American Apparel.” Her story focused on the following imagined email to her mom: “Hey mom, guess what—I’m not asking you for money this month. I’ve made my rent and I’ve gone shopping. I’m going wine tasting this weekend.”
“The party girl”
The story for the last customer, the “party girl,” was a little different. “[Her story] started out, ‘Oh I’m so hungover because of all the shots that I did last night,'” Schneider says. She adds that she’s actually not a different girl than the first two so much as the same girl ”going out at night.”
So what did this exercise tell Schneider about the future of American Apparel? It made her realize there was a gap in the brand’s offerings. “We had the young girl taken care of, and we had the party girl completely taken care of. What we were missing a lot of was this 25-to-35 millennial girl.”
The suggestion is that a slightly more staid, sober American Apparel range for girls and women may be on its way. Perhaps with some wine-tasting-appropriate frocks.