I have never loved anything like I love ripping on American Apparel, and they make it so easy. Their latest? A “plus-sized” line that consists of a size 12/14—a straight size in most retailers—and which is available in a whopping 20 styles. How gracious of them!
Given American Apparel’s previously stated stance on plus-sized clothing (it’s “not their demographic”) and their current financial state (dire, to say the least), this is certainly just a money grab. Of course, American Apparel can never leave bad enough alone, so they’ve gone the way of their “Best Butt” contest and concocted yet another ridiculous Internet beauty pageant to promote their new “line.”
The contest is called The Next BIG Thing—get it? Big? Like a size 12/14 is so big?—and encourages “bootyful” women to submit their photos in hopes of becoming American Apparel’s newest model. Not only does this contest’s copy seems to be written by a 12 year old, the whole concept is tired and outdated. Women in direct competition while their bodies are judged by the masses? For a company that wants so badly to be cutting-edge, American Apparel sure doesn’t trouble itself with innovative marketing.
I’ll tell you what, though: the woman in first place as of this writing is amazing. Nancy Upton’s photos show her in varying states of undress in sensual positions with food, a send-up of the absurdity of the contest. She writes on her blog: “My good friend Shannon Skloss came over to take some ‘booty-full’ photos of me…but I just couldn’t stop eating.”
Nancy’s photos make obvious the way contests like this one turn women’s bodies into objects of consumption. I hope she stays in first place and wins this contest; maybe then American Apparel will be forced to step back and re-evaluate the way they approach their customers. Or maybe not—but at least we’ll all have a(nother) good laugh at their expense.