Artless fashion

Something makes American Apparel’s clothes ooze cool. The L.A. native, vertically integrated clothes firm, whose advertisements repeatedly get accused of bordering on pornographic makes casual, often tight-fitting, clothes for both men and women. Spandex features prominently in a range that is more than a little reminiscent of late 70’s and 80’s fashion. The company makes a big ballyhoo about their benevolent business model but the rising popularity of the style they promote is equally, if not more, interesting and reason to take note.

Some will argue that American Apparel only sells sex. It does sell sex (last Sunday their Carnaby Street store in London featured a bra-less store attendant in a see-through T-shirt). Lots of brands sell sex however and most of them don’t ooze, or even remind of, cool. What American Apparel is, more than anything else, is artless. Their clothes showcase the individual: details of movement, bodily assests, mood. There is little attempt to cover up faults, create illusions of proportion, making this smaller or that bigger. The clothes are simply there, adding colour, covering up some skin.

The attractiveness of someone wearing American Apparel stems not from what they reveal, but from how knowing that they are not hiding changes how they feel and move. There is little option but to accept your body or to wear something else. The true confidence born of being comfortable in your own skin is hard to beat. That confidence is the source of the cool. And the sex-appeal.

Why our firm has a dress-code policy against spandex escapes me.

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