American Apparel - A Step Too Far?

11th August 2014 by Grace Bullingham

American Apparel - A Step Too Far?

American Apparel have landed themselves in hot water once again, this time for the sexualisation of the school uniform. There has been a lot of controversy regarding their recent campaign featuring a young woman bent over in a plaid skirt. Their previous campaigns have also caused a lot of uproar – often being dubbed as ‘soft porn’.

It’s sad to see that American Apparels campaigns have always been highly sexualised. They contain an absurd amount of nudity and have appeared to have gotten away with it. May I add that all of these campaigns are objectifying women. It’s very disheartening that women are still objectified in this way, particularly in a global clothing advert. It seems very odd really, a clothing campaign with as little clothing included. Their campaign implications all root back in patriarchal notions about a woman’s worth and reinforcing that a woman’s primary purpose is to be appealing to men.

Of course this means that future generations of women will be fooled into thinking that this is normal; to be naked, provocative and objectified. I know that this isn’t going to be stopped completely but to see a global campaign being this suggestive and sexualised is very wrong. American Apparel have managed to fall in the list of ‘cool’ high street store, originally stocking basic gym wear. This doesn’t mean that their campaigns should include young women sprawled across beds in suggestive positions and minimal clothing.

I feel that their latest BTS (back to school) campaign has really crossed the line and hopefully with all the controversy caused, something will be done about it. It’s pretty sickening to think that a brand has so much power to imply to young, vulnerable teenage girls that this is how they should dress.  Thankfully I doubt many schools would allow this type of ‘uniform’.

American Apparel continue to champion its message of ethical production but it’s continuing to sell us clothes in an arguably unethical way. What do you think?



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