American Apparel is now run by women, but it's not ditching its risque image - here's why

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American ApparelAmerican ApparelAmerican Apparel's new ad campaign seeks to empower women.

  • American Apparel has implemented an all-female executive board for the first time in the brand's history.
  • The new board is reworking the representation of women in its ads.
  • The ads are still provocative, but they aim to represent women in a more progressive way, according to Adweek.


American Apparel is back, and it's trying to shake off its sexist image. 

The US brand founded by its former CEO, Dov Charney, declared bankruptcy in October 2016 and was bought by Canadian apparel-maker Gildan for $88 million three months later.

Charney was pushed out of the business in 2015, after he was accused of sexually assaulting multiple women. American Apparel's ad campaigns were known for their images of nearly nude women in risqué positions. 

American ApparelAmerican ApparelThis photograph of the 2012 collection shows the brand's typically risque style.

Gildan is now working to make over the brand's former reputation. One step it has taken is to implement an all-female executive board.

But, as you scroll through the brand's website, you'll still see many scantily dressed models.

"We don't believe in covering up," Sabina Weber, head of brand marketing at Gildan, told Adweek. "Women feel so conflicted about being sexual right now, but we're taking a position to still be sexy, unapologetically so, but from an empowered female perspective."

American ApparelAmerican ApparelThe new ad campaign is strikingly similar to previous years.

Weber told Adweek that the new images depict women in a more progressive way, and male models are also now shot in similar poses. 

According to Adweek, American Apparel models must be over 18. In previous years, the brand was accused of featuring prepubescent teens in its ad campaigns.

In November, a post on the brand's Instagram account called for models over 25, "gender and size irrelevant."

The new face of American Apparel launched online in August. The collection has a similar aesthetic to what was sold before: you'll find plain colored T-shirts and basics, brightly colored leggings, and its signature bodysuits.

Now, Gildan has a new force to reckon with: former founder Dov Charney has launched another venture, called "Los Angeles Apparel," that is shockingly similar to his former brand. On the website, it states that its collection is created by workers who have been collaborating with Dov Charney for the past two decades.

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