As has been reported (and reported and reported), the 2010s were an especially rough decade for retail, and with the decade nearly at a close, Vox asked some its favorite writers to eulogize the now shuttered companies that meant most to them.
American Apparel, Avenue, Charlotte Russe, and Payless all got some digital ink, while JNCO and Ed Hardy were left off for reasons that remain unclear. (By unclear, I mean clear.)
In regards to AA, Emily Gould summed up the legacy well, saying “Founder Dov Charney was a grade-A perv, Claudine Ko’s 2004 profile had made clear, but the company’s labor practices were so much better than its competitors’ that we could still feel better about an AmAppy ringer tee than a Gap one.”
Avenue, I learned, was a store, but also one that made people feel great, so it seems like a shame it’s gone. On her first time there, Your Fat Friend wrote, “These were not the rigid and unforgiving jeans at the Gap. The material bent and swayed with my body, made room for me where I made none for myself. That day, I did myself the shameful, merciful favor of buying a pair of pants that fit comfortably.”
The “bug-eyed sunglasses, peep toe stilettos, chandelier earrings, slouchy hobo bags, sequin tanks” and other age-defining wares of Charlotte Russe got some love from Rebecca Jennings, who called the store “a beacon of womanhood,” and Jenny Zhang memorialized Payless, which no one remembers particularly fondly but everyone remembers nonetheless.
In the non-clothing vertical, Blockbuster, Columbia Record House and Borders — Borders did hit different — were also remembered.
AA Tees, we miss thee. Dov Charney, we still don’t.
You can read more about it at Vox.