|Via American Apparel|
Of course they did. Maks is a Bengali-American woman who works in their merchandising department. Here's the copy (transcribed by Stylite):
She is a merchandiser who has been with American Apparel since 2010. Born in Dhaka, the capitol of Bangladesh, Maks vividly remembers attending mosque as a child alongside her conservative Muslim parents. At age four, her family made a life changing move to Marina Del Rey, California. Although she suddenly found herself a world away from Dhaka, she continued following her parent’s religious traditions and sustained her Islamic faith throughout her childhood. Upon entering high school, Maks began to feel the need to forge her own identity and ultimately distanced herself from Islamic traditions. A woman continuously in search of new creative outlets, Maks unreservedly embraced this photo shoot.
She has found some elements of Southern California culture to be immediately appealing, but is striving to explore what lies beyond the city’s superficial pleasures. She doesn’t feel the need to identify herself as an American or a Bengali and is not content to fit her life into anyone else’s conventional narrative. That’s what makes her essential to the mosaic that is Los Angeles, and unequivocally, a distinct figure in the ever expanding American Apparel family. Maks was photographed in the High Waist Jean, a garment manufactured by 23 skilled American workers in Downtown Los Angeles, all of whom are paid a fair wage and have access to basic benefits such as healthcare.How many buttons can AA push with one ad? They take a shot at the competition, like Gap, who were implicated in worker abuse and deaths in Bangladeshi sweatshops. They continue the sexual exploitation of young, attractive, female employees in their ads. They use this woman's ethnicity as a prop. They have a go at traditional Muslim notions of modesty. And, of course, they have everyone talking about them again.
I have no idea where this ad has been placed, or even if the advertiser feels the need to throw any media money at it. It's posted on their site, and has been covered by Elle, NY Daily News, Jezebel, The Daily Beast, SMH, HuffPo, Daily Mail, and elsewhere. Just more proof that the internet gives us the collective intelligence of a hamster in heat.