Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ad Love: American Apparel.

American Apparel is at the forefront of my mind at the moment for a few reasons.


Firstly, because I'm living in it's home state. It is everywhere in Los Angeles, and quite rightly so. Only 2% of clothing that Americans purchase is made here in the US, and I'm guessing there are similar statistics in most countries. Production costs in developed countries are sky high, and it makes no sense when you can send the manufacturing responsibilities off to China, and halve your costs.
Secondly, and closely related - one of my subjects at State (Global Marketing Strategy) involved a very big project relating to American Apparel. Hands down one of the most fun and useful projects I've ever had to undertake at uni.

Thirdly, I have made several purchases at AA since being here - black jeans, red scarf, black leggings, purple purse and a couple of bows. I absolutely love each one, and feel strangely happy about paying extra cost when I know it's being made here in California.









American Apparel has gone through serious financial turbulence over the last few years, and Dov Charney, the head of AA, is less than squeaky clean. Allegations of inappropriate behavior on his part have tarnished the company's reputation, and yet he is clearly charming enough to find money every time the company is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Anyway, the ads. Love the branding, the simplicity, the use of Helvetica etc. Simplicity is lacking in the world of fast fashion.

Even better, I love that the ads aren't photoshopped and reflect real people with their imperfections. Taking this further, AA often use real people or employees in their advertisements, with a description of the person. I find this charming and it definitely showcases the product in a realistic light.






























































AA for the win. I'm kind of a sellout but I'm definitely enjoying myself!

A xx


2 comments:

  1. Heya Amy! I don't know how much of AA's previous (and current) advertising you are familiar with, but surely anyone who cares about the integrity/beauty of advertising or fashion can't be okay with their horrendously women-objectifying ads (I linked to some below - there are actually even worse out there, but I couldn't bring myself to trawl the scummy depths of the internet to find them!) Surely you also couldn't be fine with AA's CEO's sketchy past, and company history. Also, despite what they like to portray, many of AA's so-called "ordinary women" ARE professional models (some of them are even professional porn stars), and those that aren't are most certainly ripped off by the dodgy contacts they have to sign before being paid $50-$300 MAX for photos that end up being plastered on billboards around the world... Yea. Sorry, I feel like a conspiracy theorist/buzzkill :(

    http://fashionista.com/2011/01/american-apparels-most-provocative-ads-from-1995-to-the-present-an-evolution/6034_american-apparel-ad-cottonyoucanfeelhowgooditlooks-2003-3/

    http://www.thebettermousetrap.me/fashion-styles/american-apparel%E2%80%99s-most-provocative-ads-1995-2011/

    http://english.mashkulture.net/2009/09/14/50-racy-american-apparel-ads/

    http://jezebel.com/5531777/american-apparel-lies-about-its-real-people-models

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-42747996/american-apparel-ceo-uses-secret-contracts-to-silence-models-who-pose-nude-for-him/?tag=bnetdomain

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  2. Hi! Yes unfortunately I am well acquainted with some of their seriously sketchy work... and I can't say I like any of their work with blatant nudity. We had to research which ads were banned in which countries which was very interesting...
    He's an absolute piece of work, no question, and I continue to be floored by the fact that he can keep the company afloat!

    Should definitely have painted both sides of the story, as when someone pushes boundaries (which I LOVE), they can also cross lines, which AA have definitely done in some cases.

    It's a great point to bring up and just shows that some of the most (seemingly) well-intentioned businesses can mask some extremely dodgy activities in the background.

    As far as the ads go.. aside from the porno-aesthetic that can come across sometimes (I mean, ew), I still appreciate that AA are doing something different, and am enjoying seeing people's different reactions to that... I'm definitely keeping an eye on what these guys come up with next!

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