Photo by Saul Loeb for AFP/Getty Images

Can crowdsourcing prop up a flagging brand? American Apparel sure hopes so. The beleaguered Los Angeles retailer, which recently suggested that it may outsource some of its garment production to another U.S. manufacturer, is asking vendors to submit proposals for domestically made products that can retail for $100 or less. American Apparel says it is looking for items such as leather, canvas and paper goods, footwear, jewelry, fragrances, and small home furnishings that can be delivered in units of 500 within a period of 30 days. “We are hoping to select as many as 15 submissions for further discussions,” it said on its website.

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Vendors are invited to submit a 90-second video proposal by June 17, although American Apparel stresses that the campaign is “not a contest, and there are no ‘winners’ or ‘prizes’.”

The company says it will determine the viability of the proposals by June 30, after which it “will contact the selected vendors to discuss the terms for a future business relationship.”

“Cutting and sewing 100 percent of our garments in America is at the core of our DNA,” Cynthia Erland, senior vice president of marketing at American Apparel, said in a statement. “We want to continue to support manufacturing in the U.S. by giving small businesses the opportunity to thrive and succeed.”

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“We are very excited to launch our ‘Made In’ crowdsourcing campaign by soliciting ideas for third-party accessories and small home goods made in America and giving these vendors the opportunity for distribution in our stores and online globally,” Erland added.

As of Friday, 16 proposals have been submitted through American Apparel’s Create.It website, including a Venice Beach-based purveyor of bandanas and a Rhode Island business that makes caps, fanny packs, and backpacks.

Members of the public are welcome to vote on each “audition’s” originality, style, and creativity.

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