American Apparel's Made In Bangladesh Campaign: A Step Too Far?

14/08/2014 16:40 | Updated 20 May 2015

This advert of a topless woman with the words 'Made in Bangladesh' written across her chest is causing a stir. Guess who's behind it? American Apparel.

The clothing brand isn't exactly afraid of controversial advertising but after the shop mannequins with pubic hair and the ad starring 62-year-old Jacky O'Shaughnessy, this latest campaign is the most contentious yet.


The model in question is called Maks. She was born in Dhaka and raised in California by her Muslim family. She has worked for as a merchandiser for American Apparel since 2010 and she wears the brand's high waist jeans in the campaign. However, her trousers aren't really the focus point here.

So - what is American Apparel trying to prove this time?

The brand wants its customers to know it is a "sweatshop free" clothing company and as the website tells us, "The American Apparel factory is the largest sewing facility in North America."

Its employees are "fairly paid" and "more efficient than those who rely on offshore of onshore sub-contracting."

The blurb that comes with this picture states Maks "unreservedly embraced" this photoshoot and she is described as a "distinct figure in the American Apparel family."

That's great, but is this publicity stunt the right way to go about getting the message across?

Yes, the brand has successfully grabbed our attention once again. However, as this ad addresses the use of ethical practises, it comes across as proud, and even a bit smug.

There are many Bangladeshi women working in the clothing industry who are seriously underpaid. American Apparel has only highlighted this moral problem further, while promoting its brand in a positive light.

This only begs the question - has American Apparel gone too far this time?


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