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Founder's Report

American Eagle Outfitters: The Story of a Classic American Brand

by Editorial Staff 05 Jun 2023

American Eagle Outfitters is a popular clothing brand known for its classic style and youthful spirit. The brand has been a staple of American fashion since it was founded in 1977. Here's a closer look at the history and founder of American Eagle Outfitters.

Early Days

American Eagle Outfitters was founded in 1977 by brothers Jerry and Mark Silverman. The first store was located in Novi, Michigan and sold outdoor clothing and gear. The store was called "Retail Ventures" and quickly became popular with college students and young adults.

In 1980, the Silverman brothers changed the name of the store to American Eagle Outfitters and shifted the focus to casual clothing for men and women. The brand's signature eagle logo was introduced at this time, which quickly became a recognizable symbol of the brand.

Rapid Expansion

In the 1990s, American Eagle Outfitters experienced rapid expansion. The brand opened stores across the United States and Canada, and by the end of the decade, had over 450 stores. The brand also launched its first e-commerce website in 1996, which allowed customers to shop for American Eagle products online.

During this time, American Eagle Outfitters became known for its classic American style, which included denim, plaid shirts, and graphic tees. The brand's marketing campaigns also reflected this aesthetic, with models posing in natural settings, such as beaches and forests.

Founder's Vision

Jerry Silverman served as the CEO of American Eagle Outfitters until 2002. During his tenure, he focused on creating a brand that was accessible to young people while also offering quality products. He also prioritized sustainability and was one of the first CEOs in the fashion industry to publicly commit to using organic cotton in American Eagle Outfitters products.

In a 2001 interview with the Pittsburgh Business Times, Silverman explained his vision for the brand: "We want to be the leading provider of fashionable, casual apparel and accessories for young men and women...We want to make sure we're always evolving and changing, always innovating."

Continued Success

Today, American Eagle Outfitters remains a popular clothing brand with a loyal customer base. The brand has continued to innovate, introducing new products and styles, such as its popular Aerie line of lingerie and loungewear. American Eagle Outfitters has also expanded internationally, with stores in over 20 countries.

In recent years, the brand has also emphasized social responsibility and sustainability, launching initiatives such as its "jeans recycling" program and commitment to using sustainable materials.


American Eagle Outfitters is a classic American brand that has stood the test of time. The vision of its founders, Jerry and Mark Silverman, has shaped the brand's identity and helped it to become a leader in the fashion industry. Today, American Eagle Outfitters remains a popular choice for young people who are looking for quality, stylish clothing with a youthful spirit.

Hey there! I'm Chuck, the Editor-in-Chief at Local Threads. We’re on a mission to showcase founders of start-ups and help them shine and tell the world about themselves, their products, and their vision in life. We see value in the stories of big brands and their founders as well. Their success can be a source of inspiration for start-ups.

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