Celebrating American Apparel’s Controversial Campaigns

In a society where slut shaming, fat shaming and so many social stigmas have become normalized, retail brands are averting from any advertisements that may be deemed ‘unusual’. This has resulted to the exposure of the same faces of models with markedly identical frames, none of which are identifying with or representing a realistic portrayal of their customers.


American Apparel on the other hand, despite much scrutiny has gained notoriety for their controversial campaigns.

Lauren Phoenix, Faye Reagan and Sasha Grey are all women that graced an American Apparel billboard campaign. All three of them unfitting a typical model thin frame, all three of them representing individualistic looks, all three of them porn stars. Known for and often chastised for provocative advertising, here at Debut we commend American Apparel for using unconventional models in their campaigns. However the fact that they use plus-sized models, models of different ethnicities and have created a huge gay rights campaign is often foreshadowed by criticism for their sexually explicit images.

The sad reality remains that people are uncomfortable with American Apparel’s campaigns, not only because they are sexually expressive but also because they expose a realistic representation of females we have learned to believe is shameful. We are so used to seeing altered and perfected images of women, in every magazine, billboard and even on our TV’s, that once we are presented with women that look different to this and actually familiar to women we know and ourselves, it catches our eye and some confuse that for discomfort.

At Debut, we wanted to bring forward American Apparel campaigns in particular because in a world where shaming women for the way they look or for what they do is now routine, American Apparel is dodging the size 0 movement and giving females of all backgrounds a platform by featuring women who look confident, comfortable and unaltered.

It’s definitely refreshing to see and we aim to do the same with all our cover models. As long as you’re a #DebutGirl you’re cover material!



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