Imitating imitators, American Apparel presents line-drawing ads

By David Kiefaber on Mon Dec 6 2010


How can American Apparel cut costs and still provide entries for its pervert owner's whack stack? One way is to replace live models with line drawings for new ads that look just like pornographic fake AA ads posted around NYC three years ago. Those were better, in some respects, because at least they were daring—the new AA print series could be doing a lot more with this hand-drawn approach. For one thing, the over-sexualized images are boring, and also get in the way of what really sets AA apart as a company—for all his personal faults, Dov Charney's pro-fair wage and anti-outsourcing business practices are extremely rare in the corporate sector, and right now they're too easy for his rapacious CEO counterparts to discredit. If AA is going to survive, both the company and the guy running it need to stop tripping over their own dicks and re-examine how they want people to see them.

American Apparel collapse told through 10 of its advertisements

By David Kiefaber on Thu Aug 26 2010


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.

American Apparel pays up to settle its lawsuit with Woody Allen

Posted on Mon May 18 2009


Woody Allen's likeness is worth a few ducats, after all. American Apparel, the L.A. clothing company known for its tight T-shirts and kiddie-porn-looking marketing, just settled a lawsuit by agreeing to pay $5 million to the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Allen had sued the company for using an image of him from Annie Hall in a 2008 billboard and Web ad campaign. American Apparel had argued that Allen was worthless as a corporate spokesman—in other words, it couldn't have harmed his reputation, because his reputation's already terrible—because of that whole affair-with-his-stepdaughter thing. The marketer's attorney had planned to dig into that scandalous history in a trial that was due to open today in federal court in New York. Instead, the marketer coughed up the bucks and the case has been dropped. Allen initially sued for $10 million, saying he has carefully controlled his image over the years and hasn't done any commercials since his struggling stand-up days in the '60s. Good thing this is over. Allen's mug being used by a company that dresses pre-pubescent girls in clingy cotton already had that ick factor in spades.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

American Apparel isn't backing down from Woody Allen lawsuit

Posted on Fri Apr 17 2009

Woody-aa copy

What does Oscar-winning auteur Woody Allen have in common with American Apparel? Sex scandals! Well, that clears up at least one question for me, since I hadn't really wrapped my head around why the Los Angeles-based clothing company used Allen's image on a couple of billboards and its Web site last year. The move triggered a $10 million lawsuit from Allen, who said he didn't endorse the controversial maker of itty-bitty T-shirts and didn’t approve the use of a shot of him from Annie Hall. (His character was dressed as a Hasidic Jew—a perfect match for American Apparel, which usually advertises on the gaunt backs of childlike models, right?)
  Now, the marketer plans to defend itself by arguing that Allen already ruined his own image and is essentially worthless as a spokesman. That affair in the '90s with his then-stepdaughter (now wife) Soon-Yi Previn made him a marketing pariah, at least in the U.S., American Apparel's attorneys said. They're demanding all sorts of supporting materials from Allen's personal life for the case, including naked photos he allegedly took of Previn years ago. Talk about discovery! Did American Apparel founder and chief underpants flaunter Dov Charney forget that he's been at the center of a number of sexual embroglios in his day? Pot, meet kettle. Maybe the soft-porn ads that built the company are safer after all.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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