American Apparel catches a lot of crap for having racy ads.

I never given them much thought in times past, but I kind of love this sluttily advertised line now. In a sarcastic fist-bumpy kinda way – a fist with the center finger extended at convention, that is. I mean, there are a shiz ton of other company ads out there (Bebe, Victoria’s Secret, Guess, even Yurman) that also use sex and nakedness to sell their product. It’s been done for ages. By everyone. But the worst part is always the lie that comes attached to the ad. Urban Outfitters’ or Target’s edited-in thigh gaps or spray-painted cellulite, for instance. Or every ad you’ll ever see in Cosmo or Glamour or Vogue whose images have been sliced and diced on a screen almost as badly as Heidi Montag was in real life. It’s an impossible standard we’re observing. We can’t be that woman. But maybe – just maybe – if I buy your product, I’ll come closer to embodying it.

That’s why I like the American Apparel ads so much.

Nobody wakes up with perfect hair or makeup. Shoot, even if we try our hardest and glam it up before our Monday morning commute, we’re still not gonna look anything like the glistening skinned modern Twiggy I’m seeing draped across the glossy pages of this desire breeding fashion catalogue. ‘cause she doesn’t either. AA does to fashion advertising what Warhol did in the 60’s with his soup cans: mocks it. And I love it.

You want sexy?


Then here’s a polaroid style, coulda-been-taken-by-my-boyfriend snappy of me in nada but tube socks.

Too pretty?


Here’s the f’real “I woke up like this”:

(Messy hair? Check. Visible birth marks? Check. Undereye bags? Double check.)


Or maybe “queefy” would be better.

Note the red nose and undercarriage folds – all left alone.

If it disturbs you, good. Because it’s an only-slightly reverse tweak of what you normally see in every other suggestive ad that just gets by. Said other-ads rev up the hair, makeup, and general façade while they tone down the sexual innuendo to just barely get by and market a miscellany of implied fiction to you. American Apparel (as I see it, anyway) begs the question, “If we do the opposite – make it more true to life – can we sell you this more affordable and better quality shit?” Dial down the makeup? Click up the real life sexy – the way you’d see it in your bedroom? Aside from the fact that their stuff’s cruelty free (if that matters to you), the ads ultimately send the kinda in-your-face raw message that’s the perfect unexpected life raft when I’m drowning in a sea of sellable, fanstastical, photographed fallacies.

You wanted sex? Here. I’m giving it to you.

And, look at that, you didn’t need expensive clothes or heavy makeup or impeccable lighting to have it.

Because it’s your and was all along, darling. Not someone else’s to sell to you.


Leaving nada to the imagination beats using your imagination to create a fake standard to sell shitty products.