There's absolutely nothing shocking about American Apparel coming under fire for another highly sexualized ad. In fact, I think its safe to say that the brand has developed quite a reputation when it comes to creating advertisements that use exploitative images of young women. The same applies to their website. But unlike previous charges, this one is a bit more serious because Britain's Advertising Standards Authority has accused them of "sexualizing" underage models. That means 16 years or younger. BIG mistake!

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According to U.K.'s The Guaridan, that British agency has received a number of complaints from shoppers including one about young women on the site modeling T-shirts in which you can clearly see their breasts through the shirts. But, apparently, American Apparel responded by saying that the ads of the young girls posed in these tees were "completely decent and fair representation of their product." Really? Because I don't see anything decent about a young woman's breasts being exploited on a shopping site.

The ASA agreed that the images were "sexually suggestive, gratuitous and flirtatious," and explained that "because her breasts were visible through her shirt, we considered the images could be seen to sexualize a model who appeared to be a child."

Another woman complained to the ASA about some of the online ads for American Apparel's tights, which featured women that were practically ONLY wearing tights, if you know what I mean. The woman told the ASA that the images were "unnecessarily sexual and inappropriate for a website that could be seen by children."

I can't tell you how many times I've logged onto the American Apparel website in search of some tights or leggings and have come across young-looking women posing in stockings topless. I mean, it's uncomfortable and like the complaining woman said, totally unnecessary! Luckily, the ASA has so far banned three of the 23 ads that were used to promote tights. That's certainly a step in the right direction.

I'm hoping that American Apparel finally gets the picture and decides to do without all their extremely sexually explicit ads. In the meantime you can bet your money I won't be shopping there anytime soon.

Images via American Apparel

Add Comment What do you think about these American Apparel ads?
About the author

Johanna is a staff writer at MamásLatinas and obsessed with all things beauty and fashion. She graduated from Baruch College with a Journalism major and has worked at publications including, SELF, Latina, Popular Science, InStyle, and 

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Filed Under: clothing, fashion, controversy
Add Comment What do you think about these American Apparel ads?

That's pretty sloppy of them when they have money to pay actual women who are of age even if they cater to teens.
nonmember avatar
I was not in the least bit offended by the ads. I did not see anyone even closely resembling a child. The ads were done in a tasteful and demonstrative manner. It sounds like maybe the women who complain, are women who don't look fashionable in these clothes.

That is disgraceful. You can tell that their breast were exposed. Is that what they are saying that they sell in their store? See through clothing? C'mon that is the problem with soicety now..


they probably think that if they don't have sexually explicit ads they wont sell,  which I don't  agree and I wont be spending any money on any American apparel

Wow that's not a classy way to sell clothes
nonmember avatar
you should add a correction to this article since it has come to light that the asa were just being a bunch of ignorant morons by saying that a model who is now know to have been 23 at the time looked under 16.

I wouldn't spend my money on their clothing for my daughter anyway, not only because of their marketing tactics, but because they are expensive, not of good quality and don't look good anyway.

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