I januar meddelte American Apparel, den allestedsnærværende leverandør af sexede hæfteklammer og raske billboards, at det lukkede. After many years of insolvency I should have expected the news, but as a child born in a bad marriage, the company’s constant turmoil had confused me with any terminal threat. Its clothes fill half of my wardrobe, from side breast-revealing dress, I carried her past New Year’s Eve to the pit-colored white tea, I continue to treat with cream of tartar. I only accepted the severity of the situation when my last girlfriend sent me an email from their customer service team with the subject line “Your remaining order has been canceled.” Due to limited amounts he had the knee socks ordered for me not to arrive.
På sørge for en tøjbutik, der er bedst kendt for almindelige t-shirts og hoodies, kan det godt, godt, grundlæggende, men det er netop American Apparel ‘utrolige følsomhed, der altid appellerede til mig. Growing in rural Arkansas, I was from a young age self-conscious about my family’s lack of money, which was telegraphed to neighbors by our forged trailer house and the warehouse of broken cars sitting in front. When I was eight, my second class taught me aside and asked what sizes I wore for weeks later I came home with a big plastic bag full of brand new clothes. Her happiness was a genes and a revelation: If my clothes had betrayed my background, they could also hide it. On the bush, I looked out of the window and refused to recognize the bag next to me, but when I left, I tore it open before I reached our porch. Indenfor fandt jeg et par khaki chinos og almindelige hvide sneakers. There were also other things, but it’s the two most banal I remember.
When I was in high school I spent most of the money I served as a merchant on generic things like those my teacher had given me. Gap, Target og Old Navy var overkommelige favoritter; yoga bukser, jeans og t-shirts var min ensartede. When friends remember the sartorial experiments they have performed to differentiate themselves from the rest of their classmates, I struggle to relate. For mig var selvbestemmelsen formen af æstetisk overensstemmelse. The summer before my new year in college I went on a dark blue-green Patagonia fleece in anticipation of my first New England fall and was glad when I arrived at the campus and saw half a dozen other young women wearing the same.
Jeg opdagede American Apparel i alderen tyve. The label appealed to me for a strong reason: I began to have sex. Or at least I started thinking about sex more and wanted to be sexy. I was raised a Jehovah’s witness and raised on Saint Timothy’s words – “women should boast of modesty and health in mind, not with styles of hair wool and gold or beads or very expensive garbage” – a formulation that, according to my mother, excluded among others) tynde jeans, tanktoppe and any skirt that fell over the knee. Da jeg forlod religionen i en alder af seksten, var udsigten til dressing for mandlig opmærksomhed intet mindre end spændende.
Jeg fandt American Apparel en ideel kombination af konventionel og provokation. Varemærket var berygtet for sine kontroversielle NSFW annoncekampagner, which explicitly indicated which other mainstream brands were only implicit. Topless unge kvinder rørte sig, rørte sig under deres hip-hugger trusser eller kløede på en mands boxerundertøj, mens de stirrede ind i kameraet. At one point the company began to shoot the actual porn stars. Sasha Gray optrådte i en 2009-annonce helt nøgen, undtagen for en par lårhøje ribbet sokker. Adult actress Jessie Andrews worked as an American Apparel clerk and model before signing in tougher things. Hendes bane var helt logisk: What could be more in the spirit of American clothes than to take it all off?
Gennem årstiderne har American Apparel trafficked i variationer af det samme: t-shirts, bodybukser, pleated schoolgirl minis. Some of the ads have the sincere quality of a Polaroid, others the beautiful vintage look of the kind of golden enlightened magazine cover that makes me want a splash of freckles and a look of coral lipstick. It’s hard to distinguish one shot in 2004 from another photographed ten years later – but maybe a little easier to identify those created after 2014 when Dov Charney, the founder of the company, was wiped out as his CEO after a series of sexual harassment cases . (Hint: Der er meget mindre brystvorte.) Annonceeksaret optrådte normalt i tæt Helvetica-fonts: “Nederdele og trøjer”, “Trøjer og jeans”, “Crop Tops!” American Apparel varemærket “Pantytime”. Det var altid Pantytime.
This unconscious vision reinforced the brand’s basic niche, men also projected a sense of sexiness inspired from the 70’s. It’s not coincidence that my addiction to American clothes peaked the same year. I dated a number of men belonging to Charney to Gen X-en kohort, as one of my lovers broadly defined it, came after the age of baby boomers, but decisively before porn arrived on the internet. For dem var Photoshop-fri syn på skørhår, små bryster og fulddækkende undertøj – all the characteristics of AA-aesthetics – so much “all” as a lo-fi ideal. Counting on these attributes as natural benefits, I was pleased to buy the third.
Maybe the men I was with did not understand, but American clothes have capitalized on it, and here’s a broader appeal: American Apparel has not only normalized hypersexuality – it made the convention and the kink look striking alike. Brandets opfordring til uanstännighed passer perfekt til, hvad den slovenske filosof Slovaj Zizek har kaldt New Ages “superego injunction.” På “have det godt.” Mens vi en gang undertrykte vores libidinale begær, vi er nødt til at vise dem. Dette er mindre af et valg end kommando, da reklamerlogoer minder os om: Vær glad, vær sexet. De varme bukser, som jeg min teenage selv, elskede befrielse nu risikerer at føle sig obligatorisk, og det er svært at sige, hvorfor jeg bærer dem: For the pleasure or character?
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Jeg er bange for, at svaret kan være sidstnævnte. Mens mange vil huske amerikanske tøj annoncer for deres sexiness, I can not avoid seeing and seeing a standard. Jeg sidder en pige iført hot pink leggings og en nøgne bh, er i luften og ser flirtende ud over skulderen. Fotoet bliver multipliceret, så 15 af dem stirrer på mig. Det er et rasende billede, men ligesom Rockettes eller Warhols suppe cans, the power of the pattern. I want to believe that attraction is subject to specificity, but I still keep pulling on a matching pair of nylons and slide into a box next to her.
Tilsyneladende does not share enough people with my impulses. Mens Charney har skylden American Apparel’s fiasko på corporate malfeasance, er det svært at sige, om han har ret. Bortset fra den kortevarige normcore tendens er genericisme som en æstetik ude, or at least it has been consolidated by Uniqlo and infused with magic sweating properties. Maybe I’ll shop there when American Apparel has breathed its last, or I’m starting to dressing like a so-called hipster. (What is more middle class than narcissism of minor differences?) After sending a steady stream of e-mails advertising for their website sales, the company announced this week that the last one would buy their clothes online. I have already filled up: In the last month alone I ordered several items on a deep discount, including a cheetah print bikini, a jacquard tube dress and another pair of boots shorts in a light wash. Deres denim er overraskende holdbar-tykk, tung, kompromisløs af stretch. I suppose they will last for a very long time. Min eneste mulighed er at vokse dem ud.