A suitable alternative to American Apparel

It’s been 4 years since sharing my concerns regarding American Apparel’s suggestive advertising. My views remain unchanged.

Occasionally I’m asked about alternatives from those who, like me, print T-shirts from time to time. My response is generally this: American Apparel makes a great shirt, no doubt about it. They fit well, they look great, and they’re manufactured in the USA.

It’s tough to find a substitute. I’ve ordered numerous blanks from competing manufacturers over the years, and I’ve struggled to find a shirt I was satisfied with. Regardless, I’ll gladly wear substitutes if it means my money isn’t supporting AA’s advertising efforts.

However, I think I’ve finally found a suitable alternative.

Last year I ordered a couple shirts from a site that many of you may recognize*. The look and fit were outstanding. I ordered a third. And then a fourth. I’ve worn these shirts many times since.

They were kind enough to share their secret with me: Next Level Apparel. In every aspect I find them to be a worthy competitor to American Apparel, save one:

Our fabrics are produced in China and the USA. Garments are assembled in China, Mexico, and Central America.

This is a definitely a trade-off, and a significant one. But it’s one I’m willing to make, and I’m appreciative of the efforts being made to detail—and hopefully improve—factory conditions outside the U.S. (Don’t miss NPR’s “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt” series.)

While we’re at it, I’d be ashamed if I didn’t encourage you to pick up a copy of the Authentic Jobs ‘EIGHT’ shirt, printed on Next Level tees. You can also order a low-cost blank instead if you’d like to try on their stuff.

Give it a shot. I’m guessing you fall in like with Next Level, too.

* I’ve not requested permission to share their secret, so I’ve left them unnamed.

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