The fashion industry is known for a lot of things, but shying away from controversy is not one of them. In fact, it's just the opposite. The industry knows that sexy sells and scandal reigns king. For the fashion industry bad press is good press, especially if it comes in the form of shock and awe. Over the years, naked boobs have lost their surprise element, so the industry has turned to younger boobs, at times much younger boobs...in training bras.
Last month, French label Jours Après Lunes outraged moms by introducing a line of lingerie for girls aged 4-12. Earlier in the year, Vogue Paris featured a spread of children dressed up to look like adults, makeup to Manolos. Just recently, Fashion Houston showcased a few of the faces of the hottest fall lines, whose cumulative ages add up to 50 if you round to the nearest ten. I for one don't find little girls trying to sell me perfume all that effective, but what do I know?
I will say that if there is a media storm surrounding a scantily clad tween, I'm Googling, which is exactly what they want me to do. Like it or not, the image of a teenager with little clothing on gets our attention. Of all the prepubescent fashion faux pas over the years, here are our Top 5.
5. Lee Jeans Lollipop Girl
In 2006, Lee Jeans was brought before the Advertising Standards board for their "Lolita" poster featuring a young-looking model licking a lollipop. The ad was eventually found acceptable, but various conservative groups were outraged nonetheless. The Board acknowledged that the girl's pose was provocative and there were "sexual undertones to her consumption of the lollipop," but made sure to remind everyone that:
"...consumption of this style of lollipop is now common amongst people over 18."
Sure, it is.
4. Abercrombie & Fitch's Quarterly "The Christmas Field Guide"
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The popular tween and teen line of clothing is constantly making news due to their envelope-pushing advertisements and inappropriate clothing, such as thongs and push-up bras for little girls. In 2003, their Quarterly magazine was pulled from the presses because of its "innocent" portrayal of naked teens frolicking in the woods. The magazine contained nude photography by Bruce Weber, articles about sex and recipes for alcoholic beverages, all good things for all young people to be aware of. The quarterly was not published again until 2010.
3. Brooke Shields's Calvin Klein Jeans Shields was only 15 when this controversial commercial was released and like it or not, it put her on the map. Besides, it's nothing compared to The Blue Lagoon. 2. Miley Cyrus Vanity Fair Spread
In 2008, Miley Cyrus teamed up with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz and her dad (Miley's, not Annie's) for a fashion shoot that had Hannah Montana fans screaming in their Sketchers. Cyrus was shown topless with an "artistic" sheet covering her unmentionables. At first, Miley and dad defended the shots, because they were there and obviously knew what was going on. However, shortly thereafter (READ: Disney called), Miley came back and apologized, saying she was "so embarrassed" by the images of her without a shirt. Apparently, she forgot to be embarrassed about the shots of her showing the world her bright green bra just a week prior. 1. American Apparel's Flex Fleece
Fingers have been pointed at American Apparel's CEO Dov Charney for a variety of cringe-inducing behavior. Allegedly, he requires his store employees to provide full-length photos of themselves, he keeps girls employed who are good-looking and his view on advertising is "the riskier the better." In 2009, AA's ad for the Flex Fleece hoodie was banned in the UK, with claims that the ad's model was only 16 (she was 23) and she appeared to be stripping for an amateur photo shoot. The company defended the racy photos as a realism people just couldn't handle, or maybe they shouldn't have to in order to buy a fleece sweatshirt.