Sunday, January 20, 2008
From the New York Times…
Politics Wrapped in a Clothing Ad
By LOUISE STORY
IT is not often that a clothing advertisement includes the words “apartheid” and “purgatory” along with a quote from President Bush, but American Apparel has always been different from other consumer brand companies.
The clothing company, known for its tight-fitting jersey T-shirts and brazen attitude, regularly runs advertisements showing scantily clad young people, photographed by the company’s founder and chief executive, Dov Charney, that some critics say border on the pornographic.
In a new series of ads, American Apparel is moving in a political direction. The cause is immigration reform, and the ads say in part that the status quo “amounts to an apartheid system” and should be overhauled to create a legal path for undocumented workers to gain citizenship in the United States.
The black-and-white quarter-page advertisements show American Apparel employees of Guatemalan origin — fully clothed. The ads have run in newspapers like The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times over the last month. Like the company’s usual sexually charged ads for T-shirts and leggings, the political ad bears the imprint of Mr. Charney, himself an immigrant from Canada.
“These people don’t have freedom of mobility, they’re living in the shadows,” he said in an interview. “This is at the core of my company, at the core of my soul.”
[Read the full story here.]