What makes THIS situation a little different, is that there’s an ethnic and religious flavour to their tried-and-tested recipe for grabbing eyeballs.
Behold the ad in question:
The woman in the photo is 22-year-old Maks, an American Apparel merchandiser. She was born in Dhaka and moved to California when she was four years old. Emblazoned across her breasts are the words “Made in Bangladesh”.
This is, presumably, a jab at the Bangladeshi garment industry – where employees of factories are underpaid, have few rights, and are often forced to work in dangerous conditions.
American Apparel – in what actually is a point of difference in the fast-fashion market – does not use Bangladeshi factories to produce their clothes. As this ad outlines, garments are “manufactured by… skilled American workers in Downtown Los Angeles, all of whom are paid a fair wage and have access to basic benefits such as healthcare.”
But there’s a few things about the ad that are making people uncomfortable.
Is the social consciousness aspect of their ad tarnished by the fact that, well, they’re still using sex to sell their products?
Because, you know, their socially aware slogan is painted across a pair of breasts.
Is it a bit gross that American Apparel is using religion to generate controversy?
In the small text at the bottom of the ad, American Apparel goes to great pains to make us aware of the fact that Maks grew up in a Muslim household. Because a Muslim woman baring her breasts is SCANDALOUS.