American Apparel is trying to nip their dirty reputation in the bud.
The clothing company long been known for their racy ads featuring what critics have said are underage looking girls in barely-there outfits with their nipples and even pubic hair in full view.
In an attempt to distance themselves from their ousted ‘sex-obsessed’ former CEO Dov Charney and their infamous adverts, the company this week has begun photoshopping out some of the models’ exposed nipples and body hair making them look more like plastic mannequins.
Animal reports that the changes can be seen on the company’s lingerie page in the ‘new’ section and a brunette model in translucent lingerie who once had more showing on Thursday was edited to be much less exposed.
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No nipple!: This American Apparel model in a translucent black bodysuit has a belly button but as of Thursday her nipples have been air brushed off in what may be the company’s attempt to re-brand their image
Charney’s replacement CEO Paula Schneider has said she is attempting to make the brand ‘relevant to millennials’ without it bordering on ‘pornographic.’
‘This is an edgy brand and it’s always going to be an edgy brand, and it’s about social commentary, it’s about gay rights, and it’s about immigration reform. It’s about the things millennials care about,’ Schneider told The New York Times in January.
While many may welcome the company’s attempt to shave away their previous image, some activists think showing nipple is perfectly fine and empowers women in what otherwise may be a mannequin’s world.
Michelle Lytle, co-founder of the nipple printed bikini line TaTa Top thinks that by censoring women and making them look like mannequins or dolls, the company is actually taking power away from women who should not feel ashamed of their bodies.
Lytle told Animal that American Apparel has tried to reach out to diverse audiences by coming out with t-shirts that say ‘legalize gay’ and ‘legalize LA’ but have very little to comment on women’s equality.
‘To see them taking a strong stance on those issues but not on women’s equality is disappointing,’ said Lytle who runs the feminist clothing line with her partner Robyn.
‘This is a company that is clearly trying to distance themselves from their founder,’ she continued.
Nip no nip: The model on the left in see through white lingerie once had her nipples and pubic hair in full display more like the model in the back lingerie on the right
‘It’s kind of laughable for them to think that removing nipples from their images of their sheer lingerie is the best way to do this considering their questionable ad choices in recent years. This is a step in the wrong direction and is contributing to the sexualisation of a woman’s body at a time where there is a large and growing movement for equality.’
The clothing company has a tab on their website dedicated to political activism and they offer a stance on gay rights and immigration reform.
‘As a company, we have certain resources that individual activists do not. We try to use that special ability to support political causes that need help. American Apparel regularly uses its billboards, advertisements, press contacts and even printed t-shirts to speak out about important issues. Our two biggest issues have been Immigration Reform and Gay Rights,’ says their website.
The company’s female CEO has yet to comment on women’s sexuality and empowerment and the company’s choice to airbrush out nipples and pubic hair.
It may be that the company needs to focus their opinion on the difference between what sexusualises women and what censors them if there is a difference at all.
Will American Apparel decide to free the nipple along with their old image?