American Apparel's detractors have something new to talk about. The retailer has enjoyed a rather long period of notoriety, predicated on founder and CEO Dov Charney's oversexed persona, a number of sexual harassment charges filed by former employees, and a provocative campaign aesthetic. The typical American Apparel ad is set in a dingy basement and stars a super-gorgeous and exceedingly young unknown (the brand often selects models from its employee pool) posing in a way which stresses her sexual availability.
But American Apparel took a different tack this time around, and I'm not sure whether the retailer's latest advertising effort is admirable or totally cynical. To model their line of "Advanced Basics", American Apparel tapped someone with advanced style, in the Ari Seth Cohen sense. Jacky's long gone grey, but her high cheekbones, sharp features, and long hair make her a kind of standard American Apparel model, just one who's fallen through a hole in the fabric of space/time.
She looks wonderful, casual, and chic — in most of the photos. If the brand hadn't insisted on shooting her in an obligatory legs-wide-open pose, I'd admire their attempt to show young women a different kind of style role model. Jacky wears violet tights and a super-snug leotard in the crotch shot, and her apparent discomfort gives up American Apparel's shock-and-awe motives, its attachment to the scandal mill.
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