I am the first to admit that I am mildly obsessed with American Apparel’s high-waisted jeans, and I may also have a couple of their hair bows. But after exploring their very long list of lawsuits, scandals and negative controversy, I am def reconsidering my involvement with the brand. Most recently, one of their schoolgirl plaid skirts was “featured” on the side of bus stops across North America, framing the bare backside of a seemingly young, thin model.
American Apparel is notorious for mega-sexualization, and the previous CEO Dov Charney finds sexualization to be as easy as pie. Several scandals spearheaded by the raunchy Canadian entrepreneur have been made public along with a following of the company as it moves closer and closer to bankruptcy.
Charney has faced multiple accusations of unwanted sexual conduct. The New York Daily News reported in 2011 that a lawsuit had been filed because of forced sexual encounters, as well as sexual slavery, by a previous employee against Charney.
The large North American chain supposedly hires based on physical features. A requirement of the interview process is a full-body photograph, which is supposed to weed out the “ugly” from the “beautiful” (Reported by Huffington Post, “13 Things You Didn’t Know About American Apparel”). This is getting so gross it’s kind of hard to write about.
The advertisements are constantly getting banned! The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and American Apparel rarely agree on what is ban-worthy and what’s not. Being exploitative, sexualizing child models and extreme nudity gets several American Apparel ads taken off the streets as quickly as they get put out. Which brings me back to the most recent scandal – bare bummed bus stops.
Now, despite Dov being removed from the CEO position in early June 2014, the mega-sexualization issue has endured. The most recent advertisements to cause a stir included a young woman’s bare bum inside a skirt, and they were put out internationally after the firing of Dov Charney. Obviously, the problem is the sexual nature of the company as a whole!
It’s time for American Apparel to snap out of it and update their company morals. Consumers like our faithful Unwritten readers are much too smart to fall for the photoshopped models on billboards. No one is going to shop at American Apparel unless it becomes more about the clothes, and less about butt cheeks. A perfect example of marketing American Apparel could model their new regime after is American Eagle, which recently took on an “all natural” look by not using Photoshop or other editing tools on any of their models.
On a brighter note, the public response to the completely outrageous marketing features of the American Apparel brand are not only warranted, but right on point. As the company moves closer and closer to bankruptcy, it’s obvious that consumers won’t stand for anything less than respect towards women. This is something the young adult population of the country should really be proud of. Many people argue that our generation is numb to this kind of sexualization, so this impactful reaction is meaningful and intelligent. American Apparel better smarten up, and fast, or their high-waisted jeans will be covering university campuses no more.
Featured Image Courtesy of Dov Charney via Flickr