Celebrate American Apparel’s Comeback By Revisiting Its Most Provocative Ads Ever
The racy brand was once criticized for being too sexy–now it has a whole new look.
American Apparel, famous for its drawstring hoodies and sexually provocative advertising, has relaunched globally, after a turbulent last half-decade.
The company suffered a number of high-profile setbacks, like expanding too quickly, declaring bankruptcy twice, facing protests from workers and the 2015 ousting its founder and CEO Dov Charney after sexual harassment claims.
In 2017, the beleaguered streetwear brand was ironically boughten out by a foreign company, Canada’s Gildan Activewear, and is now staging its comeback with a more low-key “Back to Basics” collection.
It looks like more of the same sexy hipster threads you know from its ’00s pre-Instagram heyday, but this time the advertising places an emphasis on body positivity and diversity rather than lurid sexual provocation.
“We didn’t take the approach of saying, ‘this is a new brand’, we took the approach of: ‘this is a brand that is deeply loved and made some mistakes and there are lessons to be learned’,” brand marketing director Sabina Weber told The Guardian.
“We went back through the archive and it’s very clear where the ads and images were working, and where they just become completely unacceptable. Especially as a woman, I look at those images and I cringe.”
“What the brand stood for prior to it becoming overly sexualized and uncomfortable was actually at the forefront of what’s happening now,” Weber added.
“Using real girls, showing diversity, fighting for immigration and standing for LGBTQs was being done by American Apparel long before anyone else figured out that there was a commercial value there.”
See some of those “overly sexualized and uncomfortable” in the slideshow above.