Remember when American Apparel held a contest to publicize its new plus-size range of fashions, and provocative and outspoken American Apparel critic Nancy Upton won? Upton was offended by the language used to promote the contest, and in return, created a portfolio of photos mocking stereotypical notions about plus-sized women. Upton won the contest in a landslide, but in a catty and rather unprofessional move, American Apparel wrote Upton an open letter that rescinded her win.
After a slew of bad press (I mean, what were they thinking?), American Apparel relented, and flew Nancy out to their Los Angeles headquarters for a meeting to discuss how Nancy thought American Apparel could be better marketing to plus-sized women. And … everybody’s happy now?
Well, kind of.
It turns out that for all the time, money and energy American Apparel spent sending Nancy and her friend Shannon out to LA, the takeaway was that the company’s heads couldn’t really recall much of anything. They had a meeting, they served her cream puffs and took her out drinking. Nancy enjoyed it! But a week after returning home, Nancy received an email from Iris Alonzo (yup, the same woman who sent her the initial nasty missive) asking her to offer any additional information to sum up her experience at American Apparel. Nancy printed a screen cap of the email, which reads:
“Marsha and I were trying to remember what we even talked about, and amidst all of the late night fun and cream puffs (compounded by the fact that we couldn’t re-watch the video of the meeting), we can hardly remember what was said at all.”
So, despite the effort put into trying to figure out where the company went wrong in its initial pitch to plus-sized women, it looks like AA squandered their opportunity to really learn anything. For Nancy’s part, she says she’s done trying to change their ways. “My perception about this company was basically ‘they know not what they do,’” writes Nancy on her blog. “Then I met a lot of them, and it changed to, ‘they know not what they do, but boy are they trying to fix that.’ Now, it’s somewhere along the lines of ‘how can you possibly not understand what you do?’ I hope they figure it out.” [Extra Wiggle Room]