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American Apparel withdraws provocative advertisment
Sep '09
American Apparel has agreed that it will no longer use a UK advertisement after an Advertising Standards Authority request stemming from an offended viewer.

The ad, which appeared on the back page of VICE's Vol 7.4 issue, featured a female model wearing an American Apparel Flex Fleece zip hoody in a series of simple photographs. Responding to a single citizen complaint about the ad, the UK Advertising Standards Authority found that the 23-year old model had collaborated and consented to appear in the photos, but that the sexual nature had the potential to offend some people.

"American Apparel is well known for its provocative advertisements," said Brent Chase, American Apparel's UK operations manager. "Our models are real girls who are often employees or friends of the company. They do their own hair and makeup and aren't Photoshopped. From time to time people are made uncomfortable by this, and it occasionally causes an unfortunate reaction."

While the company has decided to comply with the advertising authority's request that it not use the ad again, American Apparel emphasized that negative reactions are often the natural result of artistic or cultural expression, noting that its "Legalize LA" and "Legalize Gay" advertisements, which take positions on immigration reform and gay marriage, also upset some people.

American Apparel pointed out that it only places its provocative advertising in appropriate publications. In this instance, VICE is a magazine that features lifestyle photography and cultural commentary, and whose young urban audience mirrors American Apparel's customer base. American Apparel currently advertises in 20 different countries, rarely resulting in complaints from their respective advertising standards bodies, and this inquiry is one of those sporadic instances.

American Apparel's aesthetic has earned international acclaim. In 2009, the Cassandra Report awarded American Apparel its top honor for print advertising, and American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was named Marketer of the Year at the first ever LA Fashion Awards in 2005. Last year, American Apparel's advertising was partly responsible for The Guardian's decision to anoint the company "Label of the Year" in an article that called American Apparel "a fashion sensation."

American Apparel will continue to express itself through photography, art, and design as the company grows in the UK. Although it does not seek to offend anyone, it recognizes that some minor discomfort may occasionally accompany the process of questioning various beauty norms and standards within the fashion industry.

American Apparel Inc

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