American Apparel, the fashion brand that put mannequins with pubic hair in the window of a New York store, has just made a surprising decision.
The company has removed pubic hair and nipples from new model images on the lingerie page of its website.
Animal noticed changes to the photos online a week ago. "Women are airbrushed to look like plastic dolls rather than real women," the site reported on Thursday, just two days after the chain had another of its ads banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for apparently sexualising a child.
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It's thought that new CEO Paula Schneider is hoping this move will distance the brand from the provocative imagery used by Dov Charney, the former CEO and founder, who was fired last June.
"This is an edgy brand and it's always going to be an edgy brand, and it's about social commentary, it's about gay rights, and it's about immigration reform. It's about the things millennials care about," Schneider told the New York Times in July.
However, Schneider has a tricky task on her hands. How will she change the brand's controversial reputation, without upsetting the loyal fan base?
"The original culture at American Apparel was 'wild, wild West.' But today the company is a large entity and it needs to have a higher professionalism," William Susman, a retail advisor explained to the newspaper after Schneider's appointment. "But their customers are a little outsider, a little rebel. Paula can't walk away from that too much."
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Of course, this airbrushing decision hasn't gone down well with everyone, including feminists who support equal rights to be topless with the Free the Nipple movement.
"American Apparel has taken many stances with their 'legalize gay' and 'legalize LA' shirts," said Michelle Lytle, anti-censorship campaigner and co-founder of the TaTa Top told Animal. "To see them taking a strong stance on those issues but not on women's equality is disappointing," she said.
More on the brand's attempt to change its image below...