Margaret Eby
March 18, 2015 1:00 pm

Oh, dear. We were hoping hard that the ouster of former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney, who had a history of super-creepy relationships with his employees and several sexual harassment suits to his name, might mean that American Apparel would be a more enlightened company. But alas.

The company even brought on new (female!) CEO Paula Schneider, who just last month, was quoted about the advertorial vision for the new, more inclusive American Apparel: “We have a woman who’s like eight feet tall in it, a transgender person, a woman who’s 70 years old. So it’s a very broad mix of people. We’re a very accepting brand.”

Then why oh why would American Apparel go back to their old “naughty schoolgirl” aesthetic, complete with the uncomfortable sexualization of an underage-looking model? But that’s exactly what happened. A new ad that the brand ran earned them censure from the UK Advertising Standards Authority. The model showing off their sleeveless thong bodysuit looks like she’s much younger than 18. Sigh.

“We considered the model had a youthful appearance and that some consumers were likely to regard her as being younger than 16 years of age,” said the ASA, according to the Daily Mail. “We considered that readers were likely to interpret the model’s expression and pose as being sexual in nature.”

American Apparel claims the model in the offending photo is 20 years old which, yes, is better than featuring an actual underage model. But come on, guys, this is not the first time that you’ve been called out for an ad that appears to inappropriately sexualize schoolgirls. Just last year, the UK banned an American Apparel advertising campaign that featured creepy upskirt photos of girls that appeared to be in school uniforms. That incident was the sixth time that the ASA has banned one of American Apparel’s ads; this new one is the seventh.

American Apparel, this isn’t working. You can do better.

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