While in town for the Adelaide Fashion Festival a fortnight ago, frockwriter couldn’t help notice the front window of the American Apparel boutique on Rundle Street, the city’s busiest shopping strip. The display included one squatting store mannequin who was flashing rather a lot of va-jay-jay. Not literally, as she was wearing a pair of micro utility shorts and of course, most store dummies aren't that anatomically accurate. But anyone walking past the boutique was confronted by the mannequin's crotch and it did seem a little in-your-face. Not to mention vulgar.
We were curious if perhaps the artful arrangement of slutty store mannequins might be part of the company’s visual merchandising handbook. A couple of calls to two of American Apparel’s three Australian boutiques bore no fruit. The staff were extremely tight-lipped. All they would tell frockwriter was that everything is managed directly from the American Apparel headquarters in Los Angeles.
But is it all that surprising, really?
This is the very same company that has been responsible for the following genre of advertising imagery:
And after a quick net search, we managed to find several other examples of similarly suggestively-posed American Apparel store dummies.
This one was photographed inside an American Apparel factory in 2008:
And this was photographed in one of American Apparel's New York stores in the same year:
|vanishing new york|
Here is an almost identical mannequin - let's call it American Apparel's "Bend Over and Take It Up The Ass" model - in a Toronto store window display in June this year. With the addition of some faeces, courtesy of the G20 protests.
|AP via daylife|
It’s not the first time that American Apparel and its allegedly notoriously touchy feely founder and ceo Dov Charney have found themselves in the poo.
Charney has been the target of numerous sexual harassment lawsuits – although apparently none of them so far successful - and the company has been targeted by numerous consumer boycotts over its "sexist" advertising.
American Apparel is, moreover, currently being sued by its shareholders and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Perhaps sex doesn't always sell quite as well as they thought.