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American Apparel in trouble for 'sexist' ad campaign

A series of ads featuring a unisex flannel shirt causes a stir.

By Kim Anne May 16, 2013 9:07PM

Photos: American Apparel
It seems that quite a few clothing companies are getting themselves in hot water these days. After last week’s Abercrombie & Fitch scandal and this week’s viral video created to get revenge on the company, now it’s fashion brand American Apparel that is getting the backlash. The company is under fire for the “sexist,” “sleazy” and “degrading ads for a unisex shirt.

According to the Daily Mail, the digital campaign features “provocative images of half-naked women sporting the unbuttoned plaid top in a series of highly sexualized poses – often wearing no underpants or just a pair of tiny G-strings – while the male models involved in the campaign are fully clothed and sombre.”Photos: American Apparel

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Consumers are not pleased, calling the brand out as being degrading, but American Apparel disagrees, claiming the ads are just “artistic.” 

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“As a company, American Apparel is very sensitive to gender and sexual issues, just as we have been to issues like immigration and gay marriage,” said a representative for the brand. “In this case, the actual product model photo for this unisex item is fully clothed for women, just as it is for men. Unfortunately, some bloggers have confused an artistic photoshoot which accompany the pages with a product shot and a controversy erupted as a result.”

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The representative added that the brand is known for this type of advertising. “American Apparel is well known for its provocative imagery, artistic photographs and its stance on free expression within the fashion industry. Our style deliberately eschews the Photoshopped and impossibly unreal aesthetics of many of our competitors. We don't think there is anything in these photos out of sync with our standards, and we think they portray the garments and the models in an attractive way and are not even the slightest discriminatory. Clearly we'd never seek to upset anyone, and we're sorry to anyone who is upset.”

Tell us: Do these ads offend you?

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Photos: American Apparel

May 17, 2013 1:30PM
I am 5'2, 110 pounds and I am offended by this.   I think more on how easy that model makes other women look, along with how vulgar men are.   Then again we live in times where there is no respect to either gender.  What has happened to this country and the morals that once were here is amazing to see.  Where women have come to accept being whores for money, and men have no chivalry and honestly cannot live up to the title of being a "real man".  My how our ancestors would cry tears at how useless, degrading, uncivilized, and lack of morality that we call our country.  Sad that people fought for us to turn this world into this.  Aren't you all so proud.
May 17, 2013 2:21AM

I personally am not offended by this- or any American Apparel ad for that matter. However, I also do not have daughters. I think the reason people are starting to get so offended is because parents are really beginning to wise-up on what's being force-fed to their youth! I grew up idolizing models in Vouge and l love what it's done to influence my sense of style, but I also battled an eating disorder in highschool, despised my own appearance, and eventually dropped out at age 17. I would never blame my tumultuous adolescence on the ads I had posted on my walls of beautiful women in beautiful clothes--but some parents might, and that's not fair! There is always going to be nudity. We are born into nudity. It is innocent. Of course people objectify and cheapen the human body all the time- but it's the parents obligtion to rear their children in such a way that encourages them to celebrate their bodies and not be ashamed or confused by them. At the end of the day, I'm an American Apparel consumer. I love the way the clothes fit me and I love the natural models they use. So sue.

May 17, 2013 12:47AM
well the  more i live in usa and travel the world the more i see a communist america instead of free america
May 17, 2013 12:43AM
Now what kind of liberal yuppie is worried about this??? Just dont watch it or look at it if you dont like something instead of crying about it and trying to make the rest of the world miserable.
May 17, 2013 12:30AM
Women look at women in ads...guys look at women in the ads. Why's he in the ad? What would be offensive would be if she was 20 to 30 lbs. overweight like the average American woman.
May 17, 2013 12:23AM

The female model looks sexy-- like she spent a good night with the shirt's owner.

The male model looks more sad sack than sexy with his arms hanging down

limply and his shirt buttoned up so high--like he's getting a mug shot. 

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