American Apparel's Latest Ad Campaign Flaunts Its Pubes

It's been quite the roller-coaster year for American Apparel. Makers of "hipster" fashion turned-yuppy Ralph Lauren fashion have now turned... au naturale? Dov Charney has pulled a few strings before, but now that he's pulled the G-string, we can't help but wonder: Is bush back in?

The company's latest print advertisement features an illustration of a woman wearing a robe, holding a flower. A simple drawing of fundamental line strokes, the illustration is classic, elegant...and also happens to feature the woman's full-fledged pubic hair.

While many wonder where the topless, highly sexualized woman characteristic of "normal" American Apparel ads have gone, others have something more important to ask: WHY IS SHE SO HAIRY? (Click for the full image.)

Some have suggested the advertisement is nothing less than the company's way of staying afloat in tough economic times. It certainly wouldn't be the first time American Apparel has used sex to sell clothing, nor would it be the first time they've shown bush. But in illustrations? Are pen and ink drawings really the move of a company desperately trying stay afloat? And if so...is that wise?

In our opinion, American Apparel's Dov Charney is doing exactly what he always does. Charney's moves -- drastically and abruptly changing up the aesthetic of an advertisement's entire campaign (see: here to here -- NSFW), while staying true to his favored underpinning of counterculture or somehow deviant or just "out there" sexuality all the way -- is just another way of getting our attention, and that's something he's proven, for better or worse, to be good at. Plus, word on the street is an illustrator might even be costing them more than the real-life women/models they usually hire.

At the end of the day, we're neither shocked nor enticed to buy a deep-V tee and gold-lamé leggings any more than we were before seeing this ad. But, hey, we fully support two less minutes in the shower for women across America!

[atimm@villagevoice.com]


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