A woman and her daughter walk in front of an empty lot in Lviv, the western capital of Ukraine.
Tragedy has many times befallen the people of Ukraine in the last century: millions of deaths during the Great
Famine of 1932-33, a Jewish population nearly wiped out by the Nazis, the worst nuclear accident in world his-
tory in Chernobyl and a rapid decline into poverty when the USSR disbanded in 1991. Today, the nation and its
youth struggle to reconcile a troubled past with a future full of promise.
71EV, Ukraine - "I liked Soviet times much better
than now. Life was better then," reflects Mitre Pablov-
h, 75, as he sits on a bench outside his crumbling
apartment building. Pablovich is a recently retired electri-
cian and has lived in Kiev his whole life. He shares his tiny
threezbedroom flat with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and
their college-aged son. On most days, though, Pablovich
spends more time outside his building in the fresh air than
cooped up with his family. He is doing what he can to enjoy
"I am still a happy man. I have a good family. We have
water, food and gas. That's all that matters," he adds.
However, his furrowed brow, stoic expression and frequent
complaining suggest otherwise. Pablovich felt like the
current government in Ukraine had let his family down.
As citizens of the Soviet Union, they could be sure that in
retirement they would be taken care of completely. As it
turned out, Pablovich and his wife, who is still gainfully
employed at age 70, had to work for many more years than
they planned. Even more troubling to Pablovich is that his
grandson cannot find a job.
"Before (the collapse of the USSR) young people
would finish school and get jobs. Now it's a big mess with
these kids. They have nothing to do. I hope they can get
jobs," he says.
Pablovich is not the only person in Ukraine concerned
with youth. Despite a solid education system, a product of
the Soviet regime, many young Ukrainians are worried
about their own futures. Young adults are in the unique posi-
tion of having been raised in both a communist and capital-
ist society. In school they were taught the ideals of Soviet
society, hard work and community, while at the same time
they were bombarded with Western messages of excess and
wealth. Make no mistake about it; young Ukrainians are
also a part of the MTV generation.
Perhaps it is this fascination with western culture that
led to the democratic revolution this past winter. Young
people from all over Ukraine flooded Kiev last November
to protest widespread election fraud. Even the success of
the youth-led political movements has not secured young
people's role in bringing Ukraine out of its current eco-
nomic and political rut.
Meanwhile, Pablovich has other worries closer to his
mind than the state of Ukrainian youth. The apartment
building he has lived in since 1967, the year it opened, is in
complete and utter disrepair. The building is full of rotting
garbage, and flies swarm in the stairways. The elevators that
service the six-story building shake their way up and down
the shaft, a trip not fit for the faint of heart. Outside, gangs of
unemployed young men and teens roam the streets, drink-
ing the day away. Homeless people are passed out in the
Chic LA clothing store
hits Ann Arbor.
By Sarah Ziering / For the Daily
ou may not know it, but you're probably already wearing it.
American Apparel - which includes the brands Classic Girl,
_. American Standard and Classic Baby - added Ann Arbor to
its list of 29 nationwide locations this past July.
American Apparel offers clothing cheap enough for the masses
yet chic enough for those with exceptional layering skills. The bold
colors and variety of styles offer endless mix-and-match possibili-
ties allowing the customer to create a unique ensemble without the
threat of logos. In fact, the no-logo concept has been key to the suc-
cess of American Apparel, attracting a wide consumer base.
"I like the concept of no branding on the clothes and creating your
own style," said Lisa Nunez an employee in the Ann Arbor loca-
tion. "It's not like working at Gap or Urban (Outfitters) where being
unique is created for you."
Through vertical integration, where the store is involved in every
step of the manufacturing process, American Apparel maintains a
complete in-house operation that includes product development, cre-
ation and promotion (everything except the dying).
The self-sustaining operation is the mission of the store created
by Chief Executive Officer Dov Charney in an effort to eliminate
the need for sweatshop labor that other similar companies in the
United States currently use. Before
the swarm of storefronts emerged, American Apparel
American Apparel was the quiet Where: 613 E. Liberty
source of distribution for many Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.
screen-printing and T-shirt distrib-
utors out of its 800,000 square-foot
facility in downtown Los Angeles. Sun. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
The storefront itself reflects the-_ __-
all-in-one operation of its parent factory. The simplistic decor of the
store resembles a factory with a fresh coat of white paint, letting the
crayon box of brightly colored clothes fill in the space. Many have
stopped into the store simply due to the shock of bright colors that
bleed out onto the street. Upon entering, many have giggled at the
site of the provocative photographs that line the dressing room walls
or some of the more outrageous pieces that pay homage to the '70s
such as unitards and sweatbands.
However, the sheer practicality of the clothes remains and at an
average of $15 for a classic spaghetti-strap tank, the company easily
beats out other stores with similar styles such as C&C California
whose basic tanks go for $40. The Sheer Jersey Bandeau Dress is
one of the store's most popular -and at $30, most expensive -
items because it can easily be layered. Other favorites are the Baby
Rib Cut Out Dress and the color sea foam.
The clothes are there to enhance the individual, letting creative
minds wander and personalities to surface whether shoppers are
attracted to the simple Jersey Gym Tee ($18) and terry cloth running
shorts, or they want to outfit their dog in the store's special section
of canine-sized tops and accessories. The store also remains stu-
dent-friendly, offering a 15 percent student discount with a student
ID. American Apparel appeals to fashionistas of all types proving
that logos are out, and clothing with a parade of combinable options
is definitely in.
I like the concept of no branding
on the clothes and creating your
own style. It's not like working at
Gap or Urban (Outfitters) where
being unique is created for you. ;
- Lisa Nunez
American Apparel Employee
American Apparel's no-logo clothing allows for creative layering.
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Homeless people in Lviv pillage garbage cans for food just feet away from a
ritzy shopping district.
Mitre Pablovich outside his home in Kiev.
4B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 22, 2005
The Michigan Daily -