When thinking of clothing company American Apparel, many things spring to mind. Ethical, playful, slightly provocative and risqué . . . brutally honest and real. Proudly flaunting their American-made, sweatshop-free garments in quite daring campaigns, the company — founded by the somewhat controversial Dov Charney — have always stated that the stars of their adverts are indeed normal people, some even being employees of AA, something which has never been doubted until Jezebel revealed that some of the women were "definitely models".
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Alluding to Australian model Zanita Whittington, who bagged the job back in April, Jezebel tears down the apparent 'realness' of the company, revealing adult stars modelling under pseudonyms, and a few more "Professional models. Represented by agencies". After being contacted by The Cut, however, American Apparel were quick to defend their ethical, honest policies with a statement from creative director Iris Alonzo.
"I'd say that 95% of the people we shoot have never been professionally photographed before, and approximately 50% of those people work for the company in some capacity. I'm excited to work with someone like Zanita, who we found through her blog and whose self-portraits we recently featured in our collaboration with LOOKBOOK.nu. She may be a professional model, but I think she's making more waves with her photography and styling and that's what we'll focus on when we collaborate. In the same vein, I was excited to shoot Martine, a fashion marketing assistant who works at our Los Angeles headquarters, and C Diamond, a retail backstock employee, because their personal style and energy resonates with the brand. What's most important to us is that our photographs and advertisements capture our garments and models as they naturally are.
Our $50/hour flat rate for modeling means we don't have agents knocking on our door too often and we like it that way. Many American Apparel models work with us because they support our company or appreciate our aesthetic, or better yet, they are employees who have helped build the company into what it is today. To me, this is a big part of the reason American Apparel images evoke the emotions that they do."