American Peril

Like most people of the non-skeevy variety, I blanched at American Apparel's billboards of barely legal girls holding their ankles in the air. I shook my head at the whispers of the lurid sexual harassment tales surrounding the CEO, and I shrank back from photos of his lascivious moustache. Yes, I knew American Apparel wasn't the wholesome Team U.S.A. store it proclaimed to be. But I lived in New York for about nine years, and it was an unavoidable presence.

At first, American Apparel just mildly annoyed me as it sprang up on corner after corner. Later it began to incite mini bouts of rage. The streets of the East Village and Lower East Side, once my favorite neighborhoods, soon were overrun with hordes of American Apparel hipsters, all a decade younger than myself, all sporting the same neon leggings, tank tops, and dead-eyed frowns, like they were some existential rejects from an Olivia Newton-John video.

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