Monday, January 7, 2008

Americal Apparel- love to hate or hate to love?

Much has been written about American Apparel (AA). For those who have been living under a rock, AA is a clothing company that boasts vertical integration, sweatshop free factories, and employees/models that look like softcore 70's porn stars. The CEO also looks a lot like a 70's porn star (hence the aesthetic?) Many were outraged over their ads which are splashed all over Manhattan (particularly on the LES) and other major cities. They often depict a doe-eyed young girl (early 20s probably but looking much younger) wearing some variation on a thong unitard and leggings combo posing suggestively. The photos look like they were taken with a polaroid camera, adding to that porn-y feel. Exhibit A:

So here's my dilemma. Although I dislike their ad campaigns and seeming objectification of women, I kinda also dig their clothes. Not all of them, of course. You'll never see me running around in previously mentioned thong unitard or gold lame leggings but the rest of the stuff is basic and perfect for mixing and matching. For example, they have this amazing cotton dress that can be worn at least a dozen different ways that became part of my summer wardrobe. Another one I really really like is the color-block scoop neck dress. Their tshirts are amazingly soft and fit like a glove. And yet, whenever anyone asks where I bought the dress/shirt I'm wearing, my head lowers in shame as I whisper "American Apparel." Should I really be ashamed of it? IT'S JUST A SHIRT! As long as I don't act and look like a cheap slut I think it's ok. Plus, spending 20 bucks on a cotton tshirt is justifiable when you know it wasn't made by a ten year old Malaysian girl getting paid a couple of cents a day for her labor.

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