I’m sure you’ve seen American Apparel print ads. They are recognizable and different and unique and that’s all very cool and laudable. HOWEVER, I think most people agree or can at least entertain the argument that the models are actually quite ugly. Well, at least not “classically beautiful.” This is fascinating so I took a brief, very shallow look at AA’s ad theory.
First, some models:
Ugly, right? Well, perhaps we should just refer to them as atypical. We’re conditioned to see new clothes on classically attractive people, and the regularity of these models is striking. And that’s a funny thought, isn’t it?
American Apparel says this about their ad theory:
“Familiar images of employees and friends from around the world—not models—allow us to express the diversity American Apparel is built on and an aspect of authenticity that is often lost in traditional advertising. Our provocative, real, unpretentious aesthetic has struck a chord with today’s young trendsetters[…]”
How many social activists have complained about clothing models creating unrealistic beauty standards for young people? The models are so ugly because they’re just like you and I!
I first must disagree with AA that their ads are “unpretentious.” I may be misguided, but I just feel like calling yourself unpretentious is the same thing as calling yourself pretentious.
NOT TO MENTION, they went on to compare themselves to Levi’s ability to serve an “undeserved generation.”
PLUS, the clothes in which AA puts their models make them look absolutely retarded.
AND FURTHERMORE, they call their models “unique” because the models are regular people. But at the same time they recognize their models break typical notions of aesthetic (aka, they’re comparatively unattractive). IE. They’re calling normal people ugly.
So AA purposefully picks “normal” models and then ostensibly makes them look unique/unattractive. Take this AA ad for instance:
Two pics. Same clothes. Girl on the left looks cute– perhaps she just got out of bed and is now coming to see you on the roof of your apartment. Girl on the right could be about to sneeze, or she could be in the middle of saying something crude, or she could be pretending to be a fish, but the point is she is not as appealing as the girl on the left.
Look at this one:
This guy walks into a social gathering at which you are present and tell me you’re not going to turn to a friend and say, “Who the fuck is this kid?” Where is he going RV’ing with his shiny blue duffle and trendy AA clothes? This is kind of beside the point..
Anyway, a last fun tidbit about AA ads is best explained by this guy:
So I guess we’ll have to trust this random youtuber, but supposedly the CEO, who advertises with atypical/ugly models in fact cares about the attractiveness of his company’s employees. THINGS ARE FUNNY SOMETIMES, HUH?
I will say, though, that not all American Apparel models are ugly. AND, talking about the attractiveness of people is so lame. In the context of fashion models though, I thought this was interesting.
Proof of attractive American Apparel models
(All photos were taken from American Apparel’s website.)