American Apparel’s advertising strategy was to normalize the objectification of women. To sell products, the company regularly featured nude or provocatively posed young girls with an emphasis on women’s breasts, buttocks and pubic area. We are happy to report that on March 26, 2015, the company was removed from the 2015 Dirty Dozen List thanks to significant changes to their policies! The retailer reevaluated and changed the organization’s leadership, advertising strategy and brand identity, which have been purposely done to avoid the sexual exploitation of women just to sell products. They also cleaned up their online ads by deleting pornographic images from its website.
We invite you to thank the company for these positive changes!
American Apparel, as a brand and a company, has promoted a hyper-sexual culture. This is reflected in their advertising strategy, which normalizes the sexual objectification of women. In many ads, the women appear to be masturbating. In other ads, they are dressed to resemble sexualized children.
In June 2014, American Apparel CEO, Dov Charney, was fired over myriad reports of sexual harassment and exploitation of his fellow employees and subordinates.
Throughout his history at American Apparel, Mr. Charney had several sexual relationships and many more sexual encounters with staff, creating a hostile, hyper-sexual work environment.
Unfortunately for American Apparel, the company seems to have fallen in public opinion over these ads and the sexual misconduct of its founder. Over the past four years, American Apparel has cumulatively lost a total of more than $100 million.
The Washington Post wondered if these events signaled “the fashion industry has finally hit porn chic fatigue.” We hope this is the case, as these sleazy advertising campaigns affect the way society views and treats people, particularly women.
Perhaps in light of the public attention to American Apparel’s damaging culture, the company may reconsider its use of blatantly pornographic ads. This is an opportunity to encourage American Apparel to re-examine their advertising techniques and brand identity.
We hope that a company that so clearly cares for its manufacturing employees would have the same regard for the their models. No respectable company should cater to the gutter instincts of adults who enjoy sexually exploitive material.
Additionally, we hope American Apparel will consent to meet with us to discuss constructive ways the company can avoid sexually exploitive advertisements and eliminate a culture that affects society as a whole.
WARNING: Graphic images of real American Apparel advertisements
Share your STORY
Personal stories help elected and business leaders to see the grave harm associated with this material and can be very helpful in getting them to change their policies. All will be shared anonymously. Please email your story to email@example.com.
Stay updated on these projects
What once was a business that exploited women in their ads and even in their corporate office, has now made huge strides to reform the culture of their brand. Today, we are happy to report that we instigated positive changed and progress for the controversial retailer, American Apparel. This is the result of efforts from…
Washington, D.C. (March 26, 2015) – National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) announces the removal of American Apparel from the annual Dirty Dozen List of top contributors to and profiteers from sexual exploitation in the United States. NCSE praises the retailer for the reevaluation and apparent change to the organization’s leadership, advertising strategy and brand identity, which have been purposely done to avoid the sexual exploitation of women just to sell products. This week, the retailer also cleaned up its online ads by deleting pornographic images from its site.
SEE PDF OF LETTER SENT HERE March 26, 2015 Ms. Paula Schneider, CEO American Apparel 747 Warehouse Street Los Angeles, CA 90021 Ms. Schneider: We are writing you to express our gratitude for the reevaluation and apparent changes in American Apparel to avoid the sexual exploitation of women just to sell products. …
‘Fuelling Lolita fantasies and rampant sexism’: American Apparel accused of ‘resorting to underage porn’ to sell its ‘Back to School’ range of miniskirts (The Daily Mail)
‘It’s something we find abhorrent. It’s about using underage pornography to sell products and the sexualisation of children, which cannot ever be justified.
Dov Charney has been removed as American Apparel’s CEO over reports of sexual harassment and exploitation of his fellow employees. This hyper-sexual attitude is reflected in their advertising campaigns. We hope this comes as a wake-up call to the company.