Blog: Michelle RussellA pubic display by American Apparel

Michelle Russell | 17 January 2014

Is American Apparel trying to make a feminist statement by adorning its female mannequins with full pubic hair - or am I allowed to be cynical and suggest it could merely be a publicity stunt?

The fashion retailer's Lower East Side store in New York has a new window display this week that is certain to turn shoppers' heads.

The window features three mannequins clad in transparent white underwear, exposing their unkempt bikini lines.

District visual manager Dee Myles suggested to The Observer that the display is designed to challenge women's sexuality and social constructivism. "It is important to have instances spark up curiosity and conversation about what we deem beautiful and sexy," she says.

Indeed, the mannequins are all fashioning rather dowdy-looking hairstyles and a pair of glasses, while the clothes that hang in the background are barely noticeable.

The Los Angeles-based company is prides itself on celebrating culture and natural beauty, so this latest move will come as little surprise to many. Particularly given the retailer is also no stranger to controversy. In October last year, the company released a T-shirt designed by artist Petra Collins featuring a line drawing of a menstruating vagina.

Its window display, however, has garnered a mixed reaction from shoppers, with some seeing it as a positive move for feminism and others believing it is too graphic.

If the pubic hair really is intended as a more realistic representation of real women and not simply a way of grabbing headlines, then maybe we should see the store feature mannequins with armpit and leg hair, uneven skin tones and maybe even fuller figures.

Sectors: Apparel, Retail

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