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American Apparel tones down ads by airbrushing models’ nipples and pubic hair

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On Wednesday, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the clothing chain’s ad featuring a young-looking model in a thong body with a suggestive pose as it was seen as “sexualising children”.

Two days later, the American retailer, under the management of new CEO Paula Schneider, appears to have begun erasing the private parts of its lingerie models on the website.

When Schneider was appointed in January to replace founder and former CEO, Dov Charney, she revealed plans to tone down the brand’s sexualised imagery. She told Bloomberg: “It doesn’t have to be overtly sexual. There’s a way to tell our story where it’s not offensive.”

She got off to a bad start with the banning of the advert this week, but the editing the photos of lingerie models on its website seems to be the first attempt by the brand to distance itself from the racy advertising it’s well known for. However by photoshopping out some of the models’ exposed nipples and pubic hair makes them look like plastic mannequins.

Michelle Lytle, co-founder of the nipple printed bikini line TaTa Top, thinks that the company is actually taking power away from women who should not feel ashamed of their bodies.

“It’s kind of laughable for them to think that removing nipples from their images of their sheer lingerie is the best way to do this considering their questionable ad choices in recent years. This is a step in the wrong direction and is contributing to the sexualisation of a woman’s body at a time where there is a large and growing movement for equality,” she told Animal.

In pictures: American Apparel

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