American Apparel Images Banned in the U.K.


A sample of American Apparel's racy advertising imagery.

David Beckham can breathe a little easier now that his steamy H&M underwear commercial has been deemed only "mildly sexual at best" (as if!) by Britian's advertising watchdogs, but Dov Charney hasn't fared so well.

After outlawing an American Apparel ad in 2009, the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority is banning eight of the retailer's online images on the grounds that they present "gratuitous nudity" and "sexually provocative" poses, Women's Wear Daily reports.

The images, which first appeared on the American Apparel website in October 2011, feature young women provocatively posing in their hoodies, socks, and lingerie, prompting a complaint that they "were offensive, pornographic, exploitative of young women and that they inappropriately sexualized young women."

Though the ASA cleared one image as it was "only mildly sexually suggestive" and "not likely to cause serious or widespread offense," the remaining eight will no longer be permitted to run as is in the U.K.

"We concluded that the gratuitous nudity in the ads … in combination with the sexualized nature of the pose meant the ads were exploitative and inappropriately sexualized young women,” the ASA said in its ruling, calling the quality of the ads "amateurish." Ouch!

For its part, American Apparel has defended the images as “not graphic, explicit, or pornographic but ... designed to show a range of different images of people that were natural, not posed, and real.”

“[They] were less and certainly no more sexual in nature than a large proportion of images of other companies," the brand added.

The ASA didn't buy that argument, but at the very least American Apparel can take comfort in finding itself in some very fashionable company: YSL, Miu Miu, and Marc Jacobs have all had ads banned by the watchdog.