When it comes to scandal, I feel like American Apparel are the Miley Cyrus of high street retailers. They capitalise on the shock factor of their advertising when it comes to their photography. Just like little Miss Cyrus, they like to show a little more skin than some people would care to see. They’ve got the knack for knowing how to overstep the mark just enough to get people talking. And (again just like Miley Cyrus), they always like finding new and interesting ways of getting people’s tongues wagging. Their photography is unlike any other retailer.. some would argue it often verges on soft porn, and of course there was the outrage behind the ironically slightly sexist unisex wear photography, which saw guys in fairly normal, nondescript poses while the female models writhed around in their underwear with an oversized shirt shrugged on top to keep the chill off.
What’s really interesting about American Apparel as a brand though is the way they redefine sexy. Even since Mr Motivator’s day, lycra and leotards haven’t really had a mass appeal. Yet somehow they make it work. And they make it sexy. Now, in a society obsessed with youth, plastic surgery and obtaining the ultimate (if a little enhanced) figure, American Apparel, are yet again redefining sexy. This time though, it’s by trying to prove that sexy doesn’t have an expiration date with their latest campaign featuring an un-airbrushed, surgery-free 60 year old, Jacky O’Shaughnessy. It’s like Ari Seth Cohen asks: ‘Why do we only look towards younger people as our fashion icons? Why not look to the people who really know what they’re doing?’ Likewise, if a woman is elegant, photogenic and in great shape, why shouldn’t she be selling lingerie? I only hope I look that good in underwear when I’m 60.