Last year, April Flores — adult film star, erotic performer and plus-size beauty — visited an American Apparel showroom in an attempt to find pieces for her plus-sized clothing line. She was told that AA did not have plus-sized items because "that's not our demographic." Tuesday, the company's Creative Director, Iris Alonzo, sent a letter to Nancy Upton, responding to her irreverent take on the American Apparel plus-size model search, and referenced the earlier incident with April Flores.
In addition to informing Nancy Upton that, despite earning the most votes, she would not be named the winner of the contest, Alonzo wrote:
In regards to April Flores' "that's not our demographic" experience, I don't recall the name of the confused employee credited with saying that, but he or she was sadly uninformed, and our company certainly does not endorse their statement. For as long as I can remember, we have offered sizes up to 3XL in our basic styles, and as far as adding larger sizes to the rest of our line is concerned, if there is the demand and manufacturing power to support it, we're always game.
But doesn't the "demand" automatically exist, if the average American woman wears a size 14? (The largest you can get in most American Apparel women's styles is 8/10.)
April Flores has responded to Alonzo's letter on her blog, noting that "it is a year and 4 months too late to acknowledge what happened to me." She adds:
I am surprised that they were even aware of my situation, because I was never responded to or contacted by anyone from American Apparel last year. I also highly doubt that they "don't recall the name of the confused employee credited with saying that" because I was at their Downtown LA headquarters meeting with their showroom rep specifically to work on my plus sized clothing line. This woman (whose name I DO remember – Maggie P.) was well aware that I was meeting with her to find pieces for my plus sized clothing line. Her disinterested attitude during the entire meeting makes it hard to believe that she "was sadly uninformed." And during our meeting, the only piece of clothing I was shown that went up to a size 3XL was a Men's t-shirt. That was an article of clothing that was hardly inspiring or appropriate for the sexy, flattering clothing I to hope to create for plus sized women.
Flores also offered her thoughts about AA's plus-size model search, saying, "I didn't like the title 'The Next BIG Thing' with the word 'big' in all caps and the word 'thing' used to describe a woman." She also believes that AA missed an opportunity:
I think it is actually funny and very telling that Nancy won the contest. AA should see that the plus sized community is a serious community and could have used this, or perhaps even the backlash that my experience caused last year, as reasons to really try to understand the potential of treating plus sized women with respect, and how that could go a long way in helping their struggling company.
Earlier: American Apparel Refuses To Recognize Rightful Plus-Size Contest Winner
Meet The Adult Film Star Not In American Apparel's "Demographic"
American Apparel Is Not Interested In Your Plus-Size Dollars
Images by Carlos Batts