The New Look of American Apparel Ads: Fully Clothed Women

The ad is designed to position American Apparel as a pro-female company.
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Dhani Mau
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The ad is designed to position American Apparel as a pro-female company.

With new management at the helm, American Apparel is moving away from the provocative, scantily-clad, nipple-baring advertising it built its brand on. Its latest ad features women, but instead of bending over in a mini skirt, they are talking on the phone, working on a laptop and making clothes in a factory.

In March, American Apparel shared the above photo collage on social media, which has now been turned into a print ad with the headline "Hello Ladies." The women pictured are employees of the Los Angeles-based retailer, who are identified in the copy with their job titles and first names.

By all appearances, the brand is trying to distance itself from years of (at times) skeevy imagery, as well as the sexual harassment claims made by former employees against founder Dov Charney. This is what it's really like to work at American Apparel as a woman, these ads say. The text at the bottom boasts the percentage of AA employees who are women: 55. 

The ad, via WWD.

The ad, via WWD.

While the approach feels a little cheesy, at least the intent — female empowerment — is good. (Though one could argue that a woman proudly displaying her pubes conveys that message just as effectively.)

As WWD first reported and American Apparel confirmed, the ad is only running in Vice, a magazine largely marketed towards men, though its new Editor in Chief Ellis Jones has said she wants to bring in a new audience. “We have had a great relationship with Vice for years and plan on continuing to work closely with them on future campaigns and partnerships," Cynthia Erland, AA's newly appointed senior vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

A rep for AA tells us the brand has tons of new campaigns coming up — whether they'll all be this "pro-women" remains to be seen. For instance, another recent ad is more pro-sloth (yes, this is real):

Photo: American Apparel

Photo: American Apparel