Two American apparel ads which “inappropriately sexualised school-age girls” have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The images, featured on the advertisers website and instagram page, were used to advertise a skirt in the retailers ‘School Days’ range and showed girls bending over with their crotches and buttocks on display.
American Apparel was heavily criticised on social media for using the images.
The retailer defended the ads and said their approach was not “graphic, explicit or pornographic” but was designed to show a range of different images of people who were “natural, not posed and real”.
American Apparel said it believed the ads had not been published to the general public but rather to consumers who had ‘opted in’ to see images consistent with their branding.
It added that the model in the ads was a 30 year old woman who was not intended to represent an underage model.
The ASA however said the images “were gratuitous and objectified women” and were therefore sexist and likely to cause serious and widespread offence.
The watchdog added that it was not possible from the images to determine the age of the model because her face was not visible.
American Apparel had removed the images before the ASA made its ruling, however the body said that it was “concerned” that the images had appeared in its advertising at all.
American Apparel was told to ensure its future advertising was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.