I had to preempt another post which I had ready to go today because of some disconcerting news. You may have heard by now that American Apparel has been sold for $88 million to a Canadian company. This means all remaining American Apparel stores will be closing this year. While this is heartbreaking news considering the fate of their disco pants, it’s also a loss because AA had such high quality, well-made clothing. It is the only large-scale clothing store that I know of that made it’s apparel in the USA for pretty reasonable prices. And while it will continue to have an online presence for a short time, eventually there will be no more American Apparel.
My first experience with AA was buying some long-sleeved t-shirts (jerseys) from them several years before they came out with the disco pant. This was in 2006. Since then I’ve bought several jackets and tons of disco pants over the years. I’m pleased to say I was a customer of theirs for 10+ years and I’m sorry to see them go.
Remember in a recent post I questioned whether 2017 would be the final year of the disco pant? Well, it’s certainly shaping up to be. I guess it’s here. It has now arrived. I might as well pick up a few additional pairs before they’re gone forever. At $51 you can’t lose. My medium pair is now 8 years old and starting to show the signs so I will look to get another pair or two.
I started seeing a ton of tweets yesterday about AA going out of business. I thought it was the usual misinformed hype that I’ve been seeing for a while now. After a little research it turned out to be true. This seems to be another reason 2017 is not going to be a happy new year that everyone has been wishing.
This is devastating. I sincerely thought we would see disco pants fade away slowly into the night but AA would be around to come up with some other amazing articles of clothing. I always felt they were a bit lacking when it came to jeans for guys; not enough selection and nothing of the skinny type. The ‘slim slack’ was supposedly a unisex jean but that was never all that clear on the website. I imagine that all their jeans could be unisex anyway. I don’t think labels matter as much as they used to. And they really shouldn’t when it comes to pants. Clearly there were guys buying and wearing disco pants and several of their online associates told me guys could wear them as well. I have liked their pencil jean and high-waisted jean and easy jean for some time and so I might pick up a few of them, if they’re still available. They look great on the models wearing them.
So they are still only selling black and navy disco pants in every size on the site. Red is available from their factory store and only in tiny sizes. I guess this is it. All of you who managed to get a pair in each color, bravo! I wish I still had each of mine. Espeially those harder to find colors, such as craberry & brown. I guess it’s pointless to lament. I just hope some other retailer capitalizes on it and gives it another revival. Why let a good thing die (again)?
My understanding on how the death of the original disco pants came about is that the pants started to be associated with ‘street women’ wear. I don’t know how that came about. Perhaps Hollywood has something to do with that and life was starting to imitate art. It’s very possible. If you start creating enough seedy disco-pant-wearing characters in movies & television it may catch on in real life or it may just cause a permanent associating in most people’s minds. I don’t think that was a problem this time around, though. On this go-around it was mostly teen girls and twenty-somethings buying and wearing the pants. Everyday people wearing the pants to everyday places (though again I emphatically state that I NEVER saw but one girl around here wearing them in the last 9 years). As opposed to back in the late 70’s & early 80’s when it was mostly a showbiz thing or something you only wore for a night of disco dancing. I may be wrong. I wasn’t aware of what was going on at that time because, in the words of Bob Dylan, “I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.”
But my theory is that AA’s disco pant was much more of a streetwear item than the original spandex disco pants of the disco era and beyond. As AA is more of a casual clothing type store the disco pant was equally an item to be worn casually, though the wearers varied in what environments they felt the pants could be appropriately worn. Teen girls would wear them to school, to the mall, to friends’ houses, to the movies, to weddings and even funerals from what I’ve read online. Twenty-somethings wore them more for an evening dinner, a club, modeling, photo shoots, concerts, as a singer in a band or even a job asthe atmosphere permitted.
What helped make the AA disco pant such a casual item? Other than the reason stated above, I believe it was also their leggings/super skinny jean fit. As leggings have become such a casual staple in every female’s wardrobe, the disco pant easily fit in offering a new texture of sleekness and sexiness that not every female could tolerate. I cannot imagine any female who could fit into a pair of AA disco pants not wanting to have and wear a pair. While these pants are incredible versatile and can be dressed up or down, the skintight leggings-like fit automatically gives them an aire of comfortable, casual, everyday wear with a touch of edginess.
Other than a few of the girls to whom I gave disco pants, I only saw one other girl in person who was wearing red ones. They were hers and I had never met her. Funny thing is, I knew her when I did see her because she had been on one of my social media feeds. I saw photos of her dancing in her red disco pants. Let me tell you it’s so cool when you’re wearing disco pants and you see someone else wearing them, too. Especially in a place where you wouldn’t exactly expect to see any person wearing such pants, much less two persons. I had to get a photo with her.
But it is a sad day. A great clothing store is closing. A sweatshop-free store. Another American business. The AA disco pant may be on it’s last legs after 8 long years. But those of us who truly appreciate them and all spandex disco jeans for that matter will keep them alive and strong, won’t we?