More than a year after an American Apparel rep informed adult star/model April Flores that "plus-sizes" are "not our demographic," the company has starting selling a handful of women's clothing in size XL. This presents a problem: Now that AA is providing larger sizes (a move that certainly has nothing to do with being on the precipice of financial ruin), it needs some larger models. Cue the semi-offensive modeling contest!
According to American Apparel's size chart, their XL is the equivalent of a size 12/14. That's about the size the average American woman wears, and the largest straight size sold in many stores. The folks at American Apparel clearly think this is outlandishly large. On Friday the company started accepting submissions to its "Next Big Thing," modeling contest. The description on the website makes it abundantly clear that they aren't just looking for a beautiful woman to model their clothes — they need someone who's big. And American Apparel has really embraced the fact that women are beautiful at any size! Just look at how comfortable they are when referencing applicants' defining attributes:
Think you are the Next BIG Thing?
Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We're looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you've got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up.
Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We'll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL!
Show us what you're workin' with!
Just in case there weren't enough awkward size references, the terms "full-size fannies" and "booty-ful" are also used on the site.
Despite the ridiculous language used by American Apparel, the website is now filled with shots of beautiful women, and many positive comments they submitted about why they love their looks. Yet, the company still found a way to undercut their messages about body acceptance. Of course, every contest like this involves ranking applicants based on appearance, but since this is American Apparel, the competition is a bit skeezier. You can grade each of the models on a five point scale, from "Not Quite" to "XLent," and instead of just showing a list of the top-ranked submissions, the site displays each woman's current score and rank. Did the women know what they were getting into? Sure. It's still hard not to feel bad for the women whose carefully-prepared glamour shot is stamped with "1.32."
Maybe we should be excited that another company is acknowledging the existence of (slightly) larger women, but carrying a freakin' 12 just seems long overdue. Plus, it isn't like American Apparel is offering all of its women's clothing in the larger size. There are only 21 items for women in the "XL & Larger" category online, and four of those are unisex. Even though American Apparel desperately needs customers, it still doesn't want to see its hipster getups on anyone who actually wears a "plus-size."
The Next Big Thing [American Apparel]