Questions To Consider

  • What is this ad promoting or selling?
  • Where is the woman’s face?
  • What statement(s) does this ad make about beauty standards?
  • Do women running a company automatically make the company “women friendly”?
  • Do you think American Apparel will ever stop doing this type of marketing?

What We Think

Oh, American Apparel… we had so much hope for you! We cheered when founder Dov Charney (the guy largely responsible for American Apparel’s past, totally nasty ads) was ousted in late 2014. We were hopeful when the company and its marketing team were led by women. First came CEO Paula Schneider, and then Sabina Weber, the head of brand marketing for current American Apparel owner Gildan.

But oh so little has changed.

Like this image from American Apparel’s Swim ‘18 Lookbook, that zeros in on a woman’s partially exposed butt (and oh yeah, you can see a snippet of a swimsuit). For sure, there have been worse ads to come out of their campaign archives  and we certainly commend them for not editing out the stretch marks!  but this objectifying shot shows us that at their roots, American Apparel is still selling the same old thing.

We applaud Weber for the effort to have male and female models in similar poses with similar amounts of clothing, and (notably) for showing a bit more diversity than the white-and-slender status quo of the past. But it seems that thin, young models in little clothing in provocative poses are still the bread and butter of the company’s advertising campaigns.

Despite the fact that the company recently put out a call for models ages 25 and over with the encouraging note, “gender and size not important,” it’s doubtful, based on its current social media stream, that American Apparel will start to show such diversity any time soon. — Amanda E. Snyder

Where We Saw It

American Apparel Swim ‘18 Lookbook