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August 26, 2010

American Apparel collapse told through 10 of its advertisements

By David Kiefaber on Thu Aug 26 2010

Aa

Flavorwire's exploration of American Apparel's decline, as shown through the clothing company's slapdash advertising, is like watching a clown die: sad, sobering, but still funny. That its owner is a sexist mongrel is well-known, but Dov Charney's transgressions have been far from the only problem at a company that never settled on what image it wanted. Its models were either blankly parading their scanties with gonzo-porn production values (the "Pyramide Humaine" ad is especially gross) or trying to look casual in boyishly ugly, unflattering designs. Sometimes there weren't any AA products in the ads at all. Now, a certain amount of cheeky camp has always been part of AA's brand, often literally. Which is fine, but they had trouble deciding how seriously to take themselves, and now the company is in danger of being removed from the NYSE. Part of that is bad leadership coupled with blowback from Charney's unseemly behavior, but the brand wasn't strong enough to counter hardship. Coupled with scandals and the sort of stuff Gawker has uncovered, it's embarrassing to be associated with AA. And in case anyone from the company is reading this, assuming the office computers haven't been repossessed, pleated pants in 2010 aren't helping.

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