Mom Jeans And Turtlenecks All Around: 80’s and 90’s Style Makes A Comeback Through American Apparel

Fall 1992? Try spring 2013.

Fall 1992? Try spring 2013.

You thought your mom’s jeans were unfashionable? Well you thought wrong! Dig those things out- you know, the pair that stopped fitting her after she gave birth to you- and try ‘em on for size because high-waisted ANYTHING is the new sensation, the fad that’s sweeping the nation! And one clothing company is spearheading this comeback: American Apparel.

Here’s a little background on the company for those of you who don’t know: American Apparel is a clothing company based out of LA. Dov Charney founded it in ’89 and has since been building it up to the fashion giant it is today. But here’s the totally cool thing about it- the company is vertically integrated, which means ALL of its merchandise is made under one roof. And on top of that, all of the workers, from the fabric cutters to garment sewers, make more than minimum wage. In today’s world where roughly 99.999% of American companies are screwing over underprivileged foreign workers in the almighty name of capitalism, AA actually treats its employees at every level with respect. Gee whiz, Bobby! Sure takes me back to when the top 1% didn’t own half the country’s wealth!

Okay, back to the fashion part. While looking around an AA store or on their website, you won’t find your graphic tee or purposefully-damaged-splattered-with-bleach-super-low-rise-skinny-flare-boot-cut jean typical of stores like Abercrombie and Fitch or Hollister. Instead, you’ll discover things like overalls, crop tops, fanny packs, high-waisted pleated slacks, and color block tank tops. You know, stuff that was fashionable in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

But somehow, they’ve made all this stuff hot again. Through black magic, of course!

Kidding. Unless “black magic” means clever advertising, “real” looking models, and a unique overall aesthetic. Then, yeah, it’s totally black magic.

I know I said their advertising was clever, but that’s probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you see one of their ads. They contain a lot of nudity. Like, I know of people who jack off to the things. If you Google search “American Apparel ads under fire” you’ll be faced with pages upon pages of different articles about how AA has crossed the line in its advertising or has come damn near close to it. But guys, just because the clothes are reminiscent of the 90s doesn’t mean we still live there. It’s 2013 and SEX SELLS. Especially in the clothing industry. I mean, the only reason we buy the stuff is to make people wanna take it off of us, right?! (…Right?)

The real cleverness, though, lies in the simplicity of the advertisements. They’re blunt and say simple stuff like “Tights.” This is perfect for advertising to the typical millennial who has the attention span of a four-month-old puppy. Pair that with a sexy image and bam!

Yet the American Apparel interpretation of “sexy” is a far cry from the Maxim interpretation of the concept. None of the models have caked-on makeup. In fact, half of them aren’t even stick-thin or super airbrushed. But they’re still sexy! This probably has something to do with the fact that they’re wearing minimal clothing and are usually in provocative positions. Nonetheless, a young female can look at an AA ad and say “Hey, I look like that in the morning and American Apparel thinks it’s sexy!” SEXY!!!

When it comes down to it, the whole AA aesthetic is obviously reminiscent of decades past but at the same time seems so current. They’ve taken old fashionable fads and transformed them into looks that are timeless and sophisticated. At least, for now. Vive l’American Apparel!

Photo credit: 「瑪趣」MARCH. on Flickr. All photos used via Creative Commons licensing. 

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