LINKAGE: “‘Not Our Demographic’: American Apparel Denies My Existence”

This Gawker-made collage features images of long-haired and half-clad models from American Apparel advertisements.

I am in my early 20’s. I will wear stupid pants. So will just about everyone else who is my age. Stupid pants are an important part of human development. By not catering to the enormous market of plus-sized/fat/whatever young people, American Apparel, the INDUSTRY LEADER in stupid pants (not to mention stupid shirts, stupid shorts and stupid nipple-baring leotard things) is missing out on a lot of money.

What irks me more than their hard-headed stupidity, however, is this insistence that fat people are not “part of their demographic.” What does that even mean? That fat people can’t be hipsters? Trust me, fat people are just as capable of being vapid, superficial and pretentious as any thin person. We can forgo bathing, smoke lots of cigarettes and dress like hobos. I’m verging on morbidly obese (according to the oh-so-legit BMI scale), and I had an ironic “hobos and Mormons”-themed 18th birthday party. Two percent of my ample MacBook Pro harddrive space is taken up by the entire discography and an extensive bootleg collection of Manchester indie gods the Fall. I complain on a regular basis about the negative turn country music took in the 1980’s. I dressed up as Jean-Luc Godard for French class when I was 15 years old. Pretentious and superficial? I’ve been there and back again.

This amazingly awe-inspiring excerpt is from “‘Not Our Demographic’: American Apparel Denies My Existence,” by Lillian Behrendt, who blogs at My Unacceptable Body: A Fat Acceptance Blog. (Hat tip to The Rejectionist.) For the recent Gawker investigations into American Apparel’s hiring practices and standards for employment (including lists of banned garments and shoes), see here for internal e-mails and contracts discussing these. We’d like to add, as Renata Espinosa points out, that many retailers have some version of a dress code (and even a corporeal one) for their employees, and that this is a broader problem of sartorial profiling.

4 Comments

Filed under (AD)DRESSING GENDER & SEXUALITY, DEMOCRATIZATION OF FASHION, FASHIONING THE HUMAN, LINKAGE, SARTORIAL INDULGENCES, STYLE POLICE & STYLE GURUS

4 responses to “LINKAGE: “‘Not Our Demographic’: American Apparel Denies My Existence”

  1. Because those kinds of shenanigans worked SO WELL for Abercrombie and Fitch. Oh, wait…

    I also hate how they’ve shifted their focus from basic t-shirts and what have you (confession: I own a pile of AA t-shirts and hoodies, and they’re all decently well-made and very flattering even though I’m short and curvy and very much not the body type they apparently want to market to) to hideous prints and weirdly-cut flimsy shit that looks awful on everyone. No, Dov, a cute skinny girl will not make those nipple-high shorts look good. Sorry.

    • I had some American Apparel t-shirts from 2001 or 2002 and eh. (I needed some blank tees to screen-print my “We Are All Billie Jean” design.) I sort of started to hate them long before other reasons made themselves plain for rendering ubiquitous the “girl cut” tee, or whatever that shape is that’s fitted.

      I was in an AA recently because I had never actually been inside one of their storefronts, and I figured I should do it before they declare bankruptcy. The clothes, as you point out, are totally flimsy! And for a store that claims to trade in basics, why couldn’t my friend find a hoodie without neck ties?

  2. thanks for the link love! your blog is amazing.

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