Saxophones, Chapstick and Lupita Nyong’o

Fewer headings are as intriguing as these, and rightfully so!

The above are but a series of delightfully discordant items that are name-checked in a gorgeously-sexy advert for American Apparel, featuring none other than a trio of your favourite drag queens: Willam, Courtney Act and Alaska 5000.

As of recent times however, the company’s fortunes have taken a turn for the worse, and it is in the process of shutting down its stores and factories. There were also a string of high-profile controversies during much of its tenure, to include sexual harassment claims by employees, tasteless advertising campaigns and labour issues; to name but a few.

American Apparel has, however, played a solid role in American and global pop culture. The company painted a carefree version of Californian Americana that many could get on board with. And the seedy allusions it highlighted in its editorials; from models caught unawares, painting an illicit sense of furtiveness; were perhaps a more accurate representation of the dark side of the American dream, and the derelict hopes that littered the sidewalks of La La Land and beyond; than what a conventional fashion retailer would wish to portray…

Bringing our attention to the video above, it is important to highlight the gorgeous aesthetic being portrayed. Retro ’80s sportswear that is sexed up (think gym shorts worn with briefs), over-the-top camp (day-glo colours meeting big hair) and finally a verbal delivery that is so on-point that it leaves the most self-respecting of nonsense poets running for the hills!

As Willam so succinctly put it; ‘I like turtles!’

This is the first post in a new series exploring creative advertising and marketing campaigns behind some major fashion and retail companies. 



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