The American Apparel controversy

American Apparel is just as famous for its clothes as it is for its controversial advertisements.

They featured amateur models, some of whom were employees of average height and weight, half-dressed in the company’s products and posed in sexually suggestive positions. Often, their private parts were barely hidden.

This is all going to change, however, after an email was leaked stating that: “The company is going through a rebranding image so will be shooting models moving forward. Real models. Not Instagram hoes or thots.” The term “thot” is an Internet slang acronym for “that ho overthere.”

The email has gone viral. From Facebook to Instagram, models all over the world are calling the company out on the offensive language used.

“I’m really disappointed in the new AA CEO. Go create your own brand from scratch. Don’t try to change a brand that stands for so much….” was a tweet from international model Jessie Andrews.

Similarly, another well-known model Megan Fay, posted that “My goal with modelling has always been/will be to promote positive body image & inspire people to love themselves. Nothing can change that.”

On the other hand, American Apparel are desperately trying to cling onto their clients by ensuring them that they had no involvement in the email.

The company took to its Facebook page to apologize on March 24. “This is American Apparel, always has been and always will be. We love all our models, all shapes, and sizes. #welovediversity #weloveyouall!” a caption of a picture featuring two curvy models read.

The email was sent by PhotoGenics Media for an American Apparel casting call and since the leak, PhotoGenics have assumed all responsibility for the email, claiming that American Apparel had nothing to do with it.

Many critics find this hard to believe. Since the introduction of the company’s new vice president, Cynthia Erland, and chairwoman, Colleen Brown, many insiders believe that the company is turning a huge corner in terms of their rebranding.

The new effort to cut the over-the-top sexuality includes orders to airbrush nipples out of online ads for sheer lingerie. The company also wants to hire leggier models to replace the firm’s signature amateurs, insiders said. In the process, some have griped that a new kind of nastiness has creeped in.

At a recent meeting, Erland announced the change by telling as many as 30 employees she didn’t want models who were “too short and round,” the sources said.

Many of the employees have spoken out about how wrong and unfair Erland’s comments were, suggesting that the company may not be in total agreement with the new direction it seems to be heading in.

This is not the only controversial case surrounding the LA based clothing manufacturer in recent months.

American Apparel ousted its founder and now-former CEO Dov Charney last December amid allegations that he acted inappropriately toward his employees. Charney has been facing lawsuits and accusations of sexual harassment for years. Paula Schneider replaced Charney as CEO in January.

Carina Canavan

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