American Apparel is definitely a name in fashion that you are familiar with, as it has become hugely popular amongst the hipster crowd.
What the emerging brand specializes in is simple cotton wardrobe basics, marketed as cool sexy and “American.” Overall American Apparel’s clothing is underwhelming and excessively unimpressive comparatively, though the company is continuing to grow and expand to foreign markets. Why? We have three guesses, each equally unfathomable.
How do you get people to pay attention to ads for lack luster tees, tights socks and other such random nick-knacks? You infuse such ads with as much overt sexuality as possible. American Apparel is notorious for photographing its scantily and un-impressively clad models in compromising positions. Apparently this tactic is bringing in your attention as well as beaucoup sales. Here’s an example of a classic AA advertisement:
Size 6 & Under
American Apparel has also come under fire recently for its failure to provide sizes larger than 6 in some items. According to Jezebel, if you are larger than a size 6, AA does not want your money. The popular brand does not manufacture some of its garments in larger sizes at all. Of course this has become a topic of consternation, being discussed by plus size proponents, fashion commentators and consumers alike, resulting in a ton of free publicity. If what they say about all publicity being good publicity, then American apparel is doing alright, size 8s or not.
Natural Beauties Only
The final tactic that seems to be helping AA secure retail success is it’s strict hiring, and employee grooming practices. According to Gawker, American Apparel demands that its entire staff adapts to is stringent beauty standards. Here are a few of the rules staffers are expected to follow, as per a company e-mail sent out to store managers:
a) Makeup is to be kept to a minimal- please take this very seriously. Liquid eyeliner, pencil eyeliner and eyeshadow are advised against; mascara must look very natural (ie. should not be clumpy or a color that does not compliment your skin and haircolor). Blush must not be overdone- should not have glitter or sparkles. Liquid foundation is prohibited (undereye concealer is understandable if it looks natural- ie. not clumpy or caked on, must match your skin tone). Please do not use a shiny gloss on your lips; any lipcolor must be subtle.
b) Eyebrows must not be overplucked. Full eyebrows are very much encouraged. Please do not dye your eyebrows a different color.
c) We encourage long, healthy, natural hair, so please be advised of the following:
-Hair must be kept your natural color.
-Blow-drying hair excessively could cause heat damage, so this is advised against.
-“Bangs” or “fringe” are advised against. It is not part of the direction we’re moving in.
How many of you are hot enough to work at AA based on these standards alone? To read the entire company e-mail including the rules for men, go here. It seems as though AA believes that having a beautiful staff will equate to fiscal success.
We have always been and will continue to be underwhelmed by the illustrious American Apparel brand. As hip as it may be at the moment, we see the company’s initiative as superficial and trendy. Lets ee if its discriminatory practices and controversial selling point will withstand the test of time.
Take a look at some more of AA’s classy ad campaigns: