American Apparel stirs controversy with topless employee in new ad

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An American Apparel Store Ahead Of Earnings Figures

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LOS ANGELES (PIX11) — Retailer American Apparel is stirring controversy again with a new ad featuring a topless employee.

“Made in Bangladesh” is written over the topless woman’s chest. Though clearly not the centerpiece of the ad, the woman is also wearing a pair of $90 jeans, that were made in America.

The Los Angeles based company says the employee, a merchandiser named Maks, is from Shaka, Bangladesh, which is a conservative Muslim nation.

“Maks doesn’t feel the need to identify herself as an American or a Bengali and is not content to fit her life into anyone else’s conventional narrative,” the company wrote about Maks. “That’s what makes her essential to the mosaic that is Los Angeles, and unequivocally, a distinct figure in the ever expanding American Apparel family.”

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(Photo: American Apparel)

Others are calling the ad “distasteful.”

The ad is meant to put a spotlight on the company paying its employees “50 times more” than companies that outsource labor to countries like Bangladesh.

After last’s year devastating factory collapse in that country, CEO Dov Charney said, “There’s so much pressure to perform, some of the working conditions are outrageous, almost unbelievable. It has completely stripped the human element from the brands… It’s such a blind, desensitized way of making clothing.”

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