Blog: Michelle RussellAmerican Apparel under fire over “sexual” marketing

Michelle Russell | 25 November 2015

It seems American Apparel doesn't want to learn its lesson. Now operating under new CEO Paula Schneider, you might be forgiven for thinking the US fashion retailer had turned a corner.

Alas, the company has come under fire again, and this time ex-CEO Dov Charney isn't involved. American Apparel is instead facing a backlash for suggesting employees wear a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase "Ask Me To Take It All Off" for Black Friday.

The slogan references the retailer's sale for the epic shopping day, but employees have been none too impressed, with one claiming the item was “actively encouraging our patrons to sexually harass me and my colleagues, some of whom are as young as 15”.

Most would think the days of sex-related antics at the US retail group were over with the ousting of Charney. Aside from his misconduct, if you cast your mind back, you might remember some of the marketing that took place under his leadership, such as the female mannequins with full pubic hair, or the T-shirt featuring a menstruating vagina.

American Apparel said it would discontinue encouraging employees to wear the slogan, which it said was intended to be “a play on words to engage customers during our Black Friday sale”.

It's true the American Apparel brand's DNA has been a bit in flux lately, as it tries to distance itself from the behaviour of its founder and seeks ways to “stay creative and push the envelope”. But it seems this latest marketing move may just have missed the mark.

Sectors: Apparel, Retail

Companies: American Apparel

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