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Openings: An American Apparel Is Born in Soho

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If all goes well, lower Broadway will be blessed with a huge new American Apparel this weekend. The space, a block north of Canal on the corner of Howard Street, is the bottom floor of a classic Soho industrial building, which means the ceilings are high, the doors massive, and the iron columns original. When we stopped by this afternoon, the place felt like a college dorm on the eve of finals. Upstairs, attractively rumpled employees in neon AA separates ran around trying to deal with incoming merchandise while construction workers finished building display racks. Downstairs, in a stockroom so filled with pristine white shelving that it felt like a meat locker, more employees frantically folded t-shirts.

And everywhere, nude mannequins in sensual poses waited patiently for their new clothes. They're made by Rootstein, apparently the Rolls Royce of mannequin manufacturers, and cost several thousand dollars each—only the New York stores have them. By Friday, according to schedule, they will be dressed, to the extent that AA mannequins get dressed, and ready for the tourist hordes.
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