American Apparel Re-launches in the UK

Former cult brand American Apparel re-launched this week in the UK, the company has had a fully re-branded makeover and is staying away from overly sexualised images which saw the previous company director Dov Charney face many cases of sexual harassment. Here’s a previous post on their Controversal Campaigns. 

The new owners Guildan Activewear Inc, a Canadian-American manufacture have decided there’s nothing wrong with advertising the clothes in a ‘sexy’ way it’s just how that sexy comes across which is important, it’s not about sexualising the models it’s about empowering them.  It’s refreshing to see that they do not agree with how the company was formally represented, this is how they used to try and appeal to consumers with their Back to School Campaign.

American Apparel Nylon Tricot Cropped Tank Top

As before the models are ordinary people, not professionals and are from a wide background of different cultures, diversities and sizes. The photos are also unedited which is great because it means that there won’t be any photo-shopped images and shows a true representation of the products and people. It doesn’t matter whether you have stretch-marks or acne etc… it will not be edited out like it’s a problem or like ‘perfection’ needs to be put out there in order to sell the clothes.

“Our customer has never really cared about the ‘American’ in American Apparel because it was made in America. They’ve always cared about American Apparel because it stands for certain values of authenticity, diversity and ethical manufacturing and we keep all of those values now, even though we are not necessarily made in the US,” says Silvia Mazzucchelli, vice-president, direct to consumer. (Theguardian.com) 

American Apparel Denim Lace Back Dress

I am not 100% sure if that statement is true about the customers but in my opinion I thought it was great that the products were produced in America and boosted the job trade over there, far too many companies import now.  There is the option to purchase the American made version or globally made one, of course the global one is cheaper in price. 

Do you like how the company has re-branded?

Will it gain cult status again?

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/20/american-apparel-returns-as-an-inclusive-online-retailer

*Images from Americanapparel.com 

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American Apparel: CEO Misconduct

american-apparelIf you Google American Apparel then you will see pages of images filled with sexually graphic content, it’s hard to believe this is a clothing company…

Dov Charney the CEO of controversial company American Apparel has been fired after coming under many sexual harassment cases, the 45-year-old who founded the company in 1998 is believed to have undertaken an unprofessional approach to his female employees, it is said he walked around in his underpants in front of them and even brought they sex toys as gifts. Although he has come under fire for many sexual harassment cases the company have always backed him and no cases have been successful, it has recently emerged that the company have let him go due to ‘misconduct’ it is not clear what he has actually done.

american apparel store openingSuch controversial advertisements like shown above prove that Charney has a lack of respect for women, previous employees claim he acted inappropriately during interviews and were even asked to masturbate in front of him, surely this should have rung alarm bells with the other directors and shareholders within the company? Whilst being interviewed by a journalist she claims he had a sex act performed on him whilst being part of an interview, this CEO clear should have been removed from the company long ago, just because he has ‘power’ within the company doesn’t mean he should abuse it and harass those around him.

Dov CharneyTo check out some of American Apparel’s controversial campaign why not read https://chasingtheimpossibleblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/american-apparel-controversal-campaigns/

http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/fashion-blog/2014/jun/19/dov-charney-american-apparel

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/american-apparel-fires-founder-dov-charney-after-misconduct-inquiry-9547865.html

*images from Google

H&M ‘Plus Size’ Model Outrage

Fashion retail giant H&M have recently brought out a plus size range (H&M+), this may sound idealistic and that fashion retailers are finally promoting healthy models of all sizes but take a look at the model images and see if you agree.

HM plus size modelThe above image is taken from the H&M UK website, the sizes start at 18 and go up to size 28, where would you place the model? I think she looks rather slim considering she is a ‘plus size’ model, I personally don’t like the term plus size as I think it just categories women that retailers and the media feel don’t fit the norm.  The model has either been photo shopped to an extent that she looks slim because of the editing or it’s simply that she isn’t size 18 or above.  

hm plus size jeansAgain the above image is taken from the UK site, the model here is promoting plus size jeans, had it not been under the plus size category on the website I wouldn’t have known that they were supposed to represent a larger size. H&M have taken a backlash from Twitter followers who are disgusted by their claims that these women are plus size.

Jennie RunkUS model Jennie Runk previously worked with H&M+ to promote a line of plus sized beachwear, the size 16 model (Us size 14) was a breath of fresh air to the modelling industry and was praised for her collaboration with the brand as it gave women a better perspective of body image. Not everybody is slim built so why feature models in campaigns that are usually size 6/8.

It seems that H&M have taken two steps back with their latest plus size offerings, the whole plus size term should be abolished to stop the diversity created around a woman’s weight and size.  Whatever your size you should feel beautiful and confident the way you are, don’t let media images make you feel bad for not being a skinny model or fit their new norm of a plus sized model which clearly is a blurred image.

 

*images from Google

Clothes Show Live 2013

Clothes Show HaulClothes Show Live 2013 is the first one I’ve ever been to, on this occasion I had free tickets but I’ve always wanted to go! The fashion show was great and was themed ‘You’re Invited To A Weekend In The Country’ which featured dancing, a live performance from Stooshie and 7 scene changes which showcased all the clothes perfectly. I went on the Friday which was the first day so over the course of the event which runs until Tuesday there will be different artists performing at the start of the fashion show.

The NEC which showcased the event was much larger than I could ever imagine! Lots of people were in attendance and a huge variety of stalls were selling jewellery, clothes and make up and for those interested there were also careers stands available to help those wanting to get into fashion.Barry MBarry M was a popular stand and it wasn’t unusual to see the crowd carrying these bags, and for £10 it was such good value. Im not sure if all the bags contained the same colour  items but mine had 2 glitter pots in purple and brown shades which were quite cute, 5 nail varnishes which I loved apart from the dark pink and limited edition neon green colour but that’s purely because they were too bright for my liking. The limited edition ‘Lilac Foil; is such a lovely shade and ‘Pink Iridescent’ is glittery but the Silver varnish is perfect for Christmas!  It also comes with a pretty pink lipgloss, a mascara and 3 eyeliner crayons in baby blue, glittery gold and another lilac shade, the goodie bag is perfect for any occasion and contains so many items! A lovely touch to this was the fact that all the items came in a little Barry M PVC handbag as shown in the photo which meant that the items stayed together nicely in the larger shopping bag.

Models ownNext up in my goodies is Models Own which like the Barry M bag came with quite a few bits and pieces! Apologies for the bad photo, with this set came 4 nail varnishes which 3 of were my own choice,  I opted for all glittery shades which were ‘Banger’ a mix of blue, green and purple glitter, ‘Absinthe’ which is a green glitter polish and ‘Obsidian’ a black glitter shade. The free varnish already in the goodie bag is ‘Show Stopper 2’ which features Clothes Show Live on the lid so it’s possibly an exclusive shade to the event but im unsure, like the Barry M set this contained eyeliner pencils in white, brown, black and glittery black, 2 lip balms in Tangerine (the round pot) and Bubblegum, a small mirror which was a nice touch, a nail buffer (not in photo) and 4 double ended eyeshadow brushes. This set was also £10.   

So Susan and Jelly Pong PongJelly Pong Pong and So Susan were small gift bags believe it or not, they came with 4 items each in cute little gift bags (2 for each brand) this were £5 each and look so lovely, admittedly I have never used these brands before but for £5 why not? I am unsure if the brands are linked to each other as I had 2 lip and cheek sublime for So Susan but one was in the Jelly Pong Pong bag… To begin with Jelly Pong Pong came with a 2 in 1 eyeliner and eye shadow in plum, a bronzer duo, a ‘Wide Awake’ pallete to brighten complexions which I cant wait to try and of course the cheek sublime

For So Susan again for £5 it had the lip and cheek sublime, a pure luminizer, an 8 hour cheek stain and a eyeshadow pallete, for such a low price it gives a variety of different uses and best of all none of the products are tested on animals!

RimmelRimmel London was one of the first goodie bags I brought due to seeing lots of people having them but being honest I wasn’t very impressed with it. For £5 a small bundle was dropped into a large bag and by the look of the poster it seemed a full size foundation was included but it was only a tiny sample, the package was called Retro Glam and features a lovely burgundy shade of ‘Desire’ nail varnish, Scandal-Eyes Mascara and a full bottle of fake tan which I gave away as I don’t use fake tan, but maybe the fact I don’t use fake tan made it disappointing along with the sample size foundation, had it been the regular size then I would have been happy enough with the goodie bag.

Elle MagazineElle Magazine had a small goody bag for £3 which features this months edition and January’s edition of the magazine, a black kohl eyeliner and a OPI Nail Varnish which you could have in red or a gold crackle effect, the only problem with this goodie bag was that it was quite heavy to carry! So if you are going to the event id save this till last as unfortunately I brought it right at the start and was stuck carrying it around for a good few hours.

 

Distorted Body Representations In The Media

Ideology is a media concept that individuals don’t even realise is taking place in everyday life, it is a concept that isn’t going to completely disappear due to the daily heavy consumption of media.  The definition of ideology varies between different theorists but the definition which I find more simplistic is with ideology being defined as “a systematic framework of social understanding motivated by a will to power or a desire to be accepted as the ‘right’ way of thinking” (Lacey, 2009, p.100) With the above message from Kate Moss it is no surprise that the ‘right’ way of thinking is starving yourself.

Ideology can be applied to the current issue of body image as it is a major factor of representation within the media, consumers of mass media are exposed daily to advertisements using slim models or images of celebrities with the ‘perfect’ body, the images and the underlying messages represent the super skinny body images as being perfect. It is also a false representation as a lot of the time airbrushing is put into place especially in magazine photo-shoots.

The above image of Britney Spears is an example of how this false representation is used to sway us, it is somehow socially unacceptable to present her true self to the world so fans that try to emulate her figure are striving for the impossible.

Small changes have even been made to this photo of Megan Fox, personally I don’t see why the changes have been made, but its another example of manufactured Hollywood.

Another bad representation of women is being spread through the media as young teenagers are striving for an unnatural thigh gap which of course first spiralled from the media.Social media is being used by teenagers regularly to share ‘thinspiration’ images and to inspire other young women to strive for the thigh gap look; I found many of these images on the popular image sharing app Instagram, users can easily upload images onto this app using hash tags such as #thinspiration, #thighgap and other eating disorder keywords and girls can easily view these images to be encouraged and motivated to starve themselves too so that they have this popular thigh gap, a wide range of the images will be users showing their frail bodies, the body which they wish to have or words of encouragement such as ‘eating won’t make you thin.’ Not enough is being done on social media to prevent this.

The hypodermic needle theory can be linked to this current behaviour as “This theory equates the influence of media with the effect of an intravenous injection: certain values, ideas, and attitudes are injected into the individual media user, resulting in a particular behaviour” (Fourie, 2007, P.294)The current values within the media is that young women should have a thigh gap as it is perfectly normal and is a step closer to the perfect body, women are sharing the images of ‘inspiration’ as it doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with doing so when it is spiralling out of control and resulting in young women suffering from eating disorders.

The underlying systems of ideology make media consumers feel that striving for the deemed perfect image is the right way of thinking as it is the only body image being perceived within the media currently, celebrities are slated if they gain weight or are curvy so this is shown as an incredibly negative body image to have which is why young woman are striving for the perfect size zero body.Marxist critical theory would define thinspiration as a false reality created by a distorted vision with individuals unaware of the underlying ideological system.

The Frankfurt School links pseudo-individualization to the construction of an artist’s style, through their distinct image and identity. (Hodkinson, 2011, p.109-110) This is a relevant observation as a celebrity is famed by their image and must maintain it within the public eye and young women/teenagers often take into account a celebrity role model and are influenced by them.  Currently model Cara Delevingne is the role model that teenagers are following, she is a catwalk model that a slender frame and thigh gap and teenagers are trying to emulate her, it because of her distinct slim image that she is currently in the media eye, and if her image changed then teenagers would find a new role model to emulate.

According to the Daily Mail it was said over Twitter that in order to get this slim look users would deny themselves food as they are that desperate to copy the model.  The chief executive of the eating disorder charity B-Eat had this to say “Hardly anyone has a thigh gap without being underweight or not yet fully adult” the message is quite shocking but it is being ignored due to the new vanity inspired culture, ideology will never completely disappear but the message would change if the trend was to change, if a healthy body image was promoted then individuals would strive for that.  With the increase in mass culture being accessible through social media with the message of size zero being the perfect body image then individuals will always be exposed to this negative message, they will always believe with the use of ideology that it is the right way of thinking and until the message changes then the distorted vision will stay in place.

With her curvaceous body Kelly Brook doesn’t have a thigh gap yet she is still considered stunning which shows that you don’t have to be stick thin to be beautiful, she feels comfortable enough in her body so why shouldn’t everybody else? Personally I find her curvy body more appealing than Cara Delevingne’s and think more girls should reconsider striving for an unnatural thigh gap and just feel comfortable in their own skin.

*images sourced from Google

Bibliography

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2274227/Teenage-girls-obsessed-celebrity-thigh-gaps-starving-achieve-super-skinny-look.html

Hodkinson.P (2011). Media, Culture And Society an introduction. London: Sage. 109-110.

Fourie, J, P (2007). Media Studies Volume 1: Institutions, Theories and Issues. 5th ed. South Africa: Juta Education. 294.

Lacey, N (2009). Image and Representation. 2nd ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmilliam. 100.