“It wasn’t a perfectly straight path.” Chelsea Grayson, the former general counsel and CEO of once-storied clothing giant American Apparel Inc. who recently finished an interim CEO term at urban denim brand True Religion Apparel Inc., didn’t expect to become a supernova when she was tapped to save the struggling fashion empires.

A corporate lawyer who spent most of her career at Jones Day then Loeb & Loeb, Grayson played an integral role in the highly scrutinized American Apparel turnaround spanning 2015 to 2017 that elevated the company from near ruin amid two bankruptcy filings, ex-CEO and founder Dov Charney’s pre-#MeToo sexual assault scandal, and declining sales. Under her guidance as general counsel then as CEO, she oversaw the revival of the brand and its sale to Gildan Activewear SRL for $88 million in early 2017.

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