Ah, American Apparel. The brand never fails to piss me off with it’s voyeuristic, highly sexualised and degrading take on advertising. The company itself states that ‘American Apparel’s ads have always been easily identifiable, standing out amongst our peers and luxury brands alike’ – well sure, but I wouldn’t be bragging about that if I were you, AA. They stand out because people across the world look at them with their hands over their mouth, wide eyed in shock that any muppet would give them the green light. I often wonder who they hell they employ in their marketing team – a bunch of horny freshers by the looks of it

This kind of imagery is so sexist, so over done and makes me feel so angry. I hate to get my knickers in a twist but what kind of message is this advert even selling? It sure as hell doesn’t make me think of gym socks. It just shows us a girl in a compromising position – a young girl in a compromising position. Are we glorifying sexual dominance here?

American Apparel seem to make their advertising choices based solely on how many people they can annoy with each one. The clothes are rarely the focus; it is normally a woman bent over in some way or writhing around, fingers in mouth simulating sex.  Then again, what is to be expected of a company that encourages people to upload pictures of their bums so people can vote on which is most attractive? Or that has to dodge lawsuits from high profile directors who object to their images being used in a ‘sleazy and infantile’ way?

The founder of AA, Dov Charney, is no stranger to controversy. He has been involved in various lawsuits for inappropriate sexual behaviour and harrassing female workers but much more than that – to me he seems to really have something against us? His images are so creepy – they showcase really young, impressionable girls who all look in some kind of zombie, passive state whilst you get the feeling that they have been shot by some perv with one hand on the camera and the other down his trousers. They all have a seedy, cheap motel feel about them and make me really worry about the girls in question. It is so much more than just posing for a grainy, soft porn shot – these girls are sending out signals that as women, this is what we are good for.

Their newest ad campaign doesn’t do much to help the situation

American Apparel seem proud of the fact that they use ‘normal’ girls in their ads but this makes me feel worse; the suggestion that girls are up for it all the time, sending out these signals of availablity – it is so warped and damaging in terms of the expectations of sex it sells. At least with ‘real’ models you know that they are paid to do a job, there to get it done and so you can separate the shot from the girl in some way; using normal girls from the street as apparently AA do in some of their ads sends out some kind of warped message that all girls do is lounge around in a pair of knee socks waiting for the next available man to climb on top.

My main gripe however is the fact that the ads have nothing to do with AA clothing most of the time. Their clothing is boring, it isn’t amazing quality and if they didn’t have some misogynistic, sexist and frankly terrifying images to hide behind they would probably go bust. As they struggle with massive debts and losses from the last financial year it is hard to feel sorry for them. Whilst stories of grooming, selective hiring based on an applicants appearance and the fact that Dov the dick Charney is in and out of court rooms trying to refute evidence that is a massive perv, AA are always in the news but people need to talk with their feet and go buy their over priced hoodies elsewhere.

Category: Discussion, Feminism, My Thoughts
  • I completely agree with you. I don’t understand what they are trying to achieve with their ads as they certainly do not make me want to buy their clothes! xx

    • em

      Most of the time I have no idea what they are actually advertising! Their ad and marketing team are crazy. They are selling an idea and an image more than products through their adverts. xxx

  • aimee

    oh god i share your hate! their adverts always repulse me slightly – why is there the need for the sexual photos/images? it gives off the wrong impression, and it never makes me think “oooh that top/pants/socks are nice”


    • em

      I know – they piss me off so much! I know lots of people who love them and the way they are shot, with that grainy, real life angle but they just make me so angry! xxx

  • Oh my god, how completely uncalled for! Also, I dont really get how that appeals to it’s clientele? Is it assuming that young girls will want to look like that?! Either way, wrong message to send! It should be encouraging young people to have self pride, not flaunt themselves from a young age ! It comes back to that over sexualisation from a young age.

  • i

  • Oopss excuse the previous ‘I’!
    I agree that many of the images are extremely provacative, and often to much so, however at the same time it makes me laugh as I think that you look at high fashion magazines of such skinny girls who I believe alot are not well due to the industry who are also basically naked, and yet it is called art. Yet this is so much more in your face, and obviously not ‘art’ I almost like it, that they are not trying to hide how vile and sexist it as, as other photo shoots do. It is however refreshing to see girls that are not emaciated, it obviously does not excuse the way in which they are advertising, and trying to create attention. (Just realised how insanely long that was…sorry!)

    • em

      I get what you are saying. I agree that it’s nice to see a slighty more diverse range of female body shapes ( still not representative of women however) yet I think that this kind of imagery is really worrying; the images are provocative, they are sexual and they implying something about the girls in the shots – the fact that they are more ‘real’ than glossy magazine shots is a massive concern as people may take that to mean girls are up for it all the time, that it actually represents what women want. It is harder to separate the images from reality this way as where does the girl in the shot end and the real girl start? My comment is just as long as yours now! xxx

  • I don’t know how you can look at any of those images and not imagine Dov Charney mouth-breathing while poring over them. What a sleaze.

    • em

      I know! They just have a really seedy, cheap motel feel about them! xxx

  • Erytheis

    I think their aim is to get free advertising from the bloggers who rightly are up in arms about this campaign. As soon as we stop talking about it they will find something else to spark controversy. If they spent more time on their designs than on the advertising then perhaps they wouldn’t be going down the pan.

    • em

      Very true – I think that they have lost their cult appeal that they used to have; I don’t know anyone who really loves their stuff any more and yet a few years back everyone was crazy for that gold shiny bikini. I get what you are saying about not giving in to their aim of courting controversy but it just pissed me off so much when I saw the images! p.s. thank you for following! xxx