American Appalling: this is how American Apparel likes its women.

About 18 months ago I wrote a post in response to complaints about the images used in the advertising for US fashion brand American Apparel who have several stores in Australia. I own a bunch of American Apparel clothes – just basics, and I’ve also bought their products for my kids – they have clothes from babies to adults. At the time, I wasn’t that fussed by it. But after reading the post below from Australian fashion journalist Patty Huntington on her blog Frockwriter, I took another look at that original post (here) and gave myself whiplash. Have I changed my view on this? YES. Yuck. Capital-Y-Yuck.

Here’s what Patty discovered about American Apparel and how they represent women in their advertising and their store:

While in town for the Adelaide Fashion Festival a fortnight ago, frockwriter couldn’t help notice the front window of the American Apparel boutique on Rundle Street, the city’s busiest shopping strip. The display included one squatting store mannequin who was flashing rather a lot of va-jay-jay.

The AA window in Adelaide

Not literally, as she was wearing a pair of micro utility shorts and of course, most store dummies aren’t that anatomically accurate. But anyone walking past the boutique was confronted by the mannequin’s crotch and it did seem a little in-your-face. Not to mention vulgar.We were curious if perhaps the artful arrangement of slutty store mannequins might be part of the company’s visual merchandising handbook. A couple of calls to two of American Apparel’s three Australian boutiques bore no fruit. The staff were extremely tight-lipped. All they would tell frockwriter was that everything is managed directly from the American Apparel headquarters in Los Angeles.

But is it all that surprising, really?

This is the very same company that has been responsible for the following genre of advertising imagery:


And after a quick net search, we managed to find several other examples of similarly suggestively-posed American Apparel store dummies.

This one was photographed inside an American Apparel factory in 2008
And this was photographed in one of American Apparel’s New York stores in the same year.

It’s not the first time that American Apparel and its allegedly notoriously touchy feely founder and CEO Dov Charney have found themselves in the poo. Charney has been the target of numerous sexual harassment lawsuits – although apparently none of them so far successful – and the company has been targeted by numerous consumer boycotts over its “sexist” advertising.

American Apparel is, moreover, currently being sued by its shareholders and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Perhaps sex doesn’t always sell quite as well as they thought.

Patty Huntington is a fashion journalist, she describes herself as giving front row, back row, backstage, left field fashionalysis.  Her clients  include WWD/Fairchild News Service and Today Tonight/Seven Network, Sydney.  You can follow Patty’s blog here and follow her on Twitter here

This post has been republished with full permission, read the original post here.

[This post was also republished on Melinda Tankard Reist’s blog yesterday]

So. No more American Apparel for me, let alone for my kids. I’m not going to chuck out what I have but I’m not going to buy anymore. What do you think?