‘Big Rad Wolf’ documents the downfall of American Apparel

Written by Adam Bryce

Photography Supplied

Catch the new documentary that follows the rise and fall of one of fashion’s biggest phenomenons.

The noughties were the decade of American Apparel, a blank tee shirt brand that became more than an apparel company, but a sub-culture unto itself. 

While it fast-tracked to global empire status so too did the number of reports of indecent behaviour by founder Dov Charney and the just-released documentary, Big Rad Wolf, shows how one of the biggest fashion phenomenons in modern times came crashing down, almost overnight.

Charney photographed the campaigns himself and always featured American Apparel staff members as models. It was a forward-thinking concept and the imagery soon became as iconic as the t-shirts themselves, but not always in a positive light.

As the ad campaigns flooded high-fashion magazines the world over, American Apparel continued to expand its reach but an unsettling underbelly of concern and rumours around the images and how they were made began to surface.

Alongside the company’s growth, however, came confirmation of what a lot of people had suspected; a flurry of former employees came forward to air their grievances against Charney.

Soon enough, he was facing multiple accusations of sexual harassment and complaints of adverse working conditions. He was dismissed from the brand he founded in 2014, and American Apparel filed for bankruptcy a year later. 

Big Rad Wolf is a nine-part series and available now on Quibi.

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