• Opinion-lead

    Opinion: Why so much hype surrounding the ban of new American Apparel ads?

Opinion

Opinion: Why so much hype surrounding the ban of new American Apparel ads?

Posted by Holly Wilkins,

This week, Holly Wilkins looks at the furore around US retailer American Apparel’s recent adverts, and how those banned promo spots are being put to the public for their opinion on the matter.

I sit on the fence when it comes to my opinion about American Apparel. Yes it’s great that they don’t use sweat-shops to make their clothes, they campaign for immigration reform (we’ve all seen the “Legalize LA” tees) and their environmental commitment is pretty impressive. On the other hand, I totally disagree with their emphasis on vanity. Apparently job applicants are required to submit photographs – have you ever seen an unattractive employee in any of their shops?

Last week, the retailer came under scrutiny for the release of sexually provocative advertisements. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) particularly shot down two ads: one where a woman is shot on a bed wearing a turtleneck jumper with her bottom-half supposedly bare and her legs up in the air, the other is series of six photographs of a model’s legs in “overtly sexual” positions with her face out of sight.

It seems crazy how AA support immigration and gay rights because they believe in “freedom, expression and equality”, but they’ve gone so far in another direction with their advertising. Why lower their image when the clothes are good quality and sweat-shop free? Does baring skin help sell their garments?

Playing on the hype created from the ban, AA asked the public through social media to give their opinion. Leafing through reams of Facebook comments, there appear to be two extremes; people are either accusing them of promoting sex trafficking, and on the other side celebrating these people as feminists.

Thousands of questions pop into my head, and very quickly we’re forced to delve into the historical and social importance of gender. Is all this fuss because of the still strong underlying voice of feminism? And if it was men in these adverts would the reaction be the same?

comments powered by Disqus
Portrait17

Posted by Holly Wilkins

Holly worked with us as an editorial intern after studying at Leeds University and working in the PR industry in Los Angeles for a short period. She wrote for the site between March and May 2013.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. List

    Last week features editor Liv Siddall put out a call to arms to the illustration community, inviting practitioners young and old to push their discipline further and keep their work exciting and fresh. She cited in particular the regurgitation of the same established names at illustration fairs and events as a cynical way to flog tickets and boost sales instead of creating a platform for new, innovative work.

  2. Main

    This week, Features Editor Liv Siddall wonders whether the world of illustration, and the events that champion them, have perhaps become a bit stale. And maybe we should take steps to champion as many new and exciting artists as possible, as opposed to falling back on the same names time and time again.

  3. List

    This week Rob Alderson welcomes the excellent Dazed 100 list of defining creative pioneers but wonders why readers are being asked to help rank the entries. As ever you can join the debate using the comment thread below….

  4. Opinion-list-new

    This week It’s Nice That director Will Hudson talks about why he reckons the new Randall Wright-directed documentary Hockney is so brilliant. You can let us know your thoughts in the comment thread below.

  5. Opinion-list

    This week assistant editor Maisie Skidmore asks what it is about weekly podcast Serial that has got the whole world talking. As ever, we want to hear what you think! Add your two pennies in the comment thread below.

  6. List

    This week Rob Alderson examines Paper Magazine’s attempts to “break the internet” with their nude Kim Kardashian photoshoot. He asks if it’s actually a good cover, and what (if anything) it tells us about the magazine industry. As ever you can add your thoughts below…

  7. List

    Ahead of a panel discussion we’re hosting at London College of Communication next week we’re keen to explore whether the gap between design schools and the creative industries is a problem that needs addressing. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  8. List

    In a special Opinion piece, Rob Alderson explains why the closure of London’s Kemistry Gallery is a cause for concern, but why its ambitious future plans need to be encouraged. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  9. Lead

    This week online editor Emily Gosling looks at who can really claim authorship of artworks created using technology designed by someone else. Who can really take the credit for art that might not be possible without the tech know-how of others?

  10. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on an interesting blog by Chloe Markowicz which suggests that people are ashamed to call what they do advertising. As ever you can join the debate and add your comments using the discussion thread below.

  11. Main

    Wake up! Freshers’ Week is done – all that colourful IKEA kitchenware your mum got you is nowhere to be seen and you’ve gained 478 new friends on Facebook and an awkward conversation with your home friends about who you’re actually going to Glastonbury with next year. To be honest, being a fresher usually goes on for way longer than a week. After a month or so of partying and drinking Glenn’s Vodka and Robinson’s out of tupperware bowls you wake up with a whole load of briefs to tackle and studio space and equipment to fight over. This is the START of ART SCHOOL.

  12. List

    In recent months the question of so-called spec work has been raised with us over social media in light of various design competitions we have helped promote. Off the back of that we have spent a lot of time discussing this thorny issue with various people so as to formulate a consistent approach, although the nature of these things is that each is best analysed on a case by case basis.

  13. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on the launch of the new Design Museum website and the strange suggestion that the redesign should have been given to a British agency rather than Dutch studio Fabrique. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…