Controversy is the perfect accessory

Advertising campaigns in the fashion industry are often controversial; however, country’s are taking action by banning ads.

Australia recently banned Calvin Klein’s latest ad campaign claiming it condones rape and violence, a story covered by Daniel P. Dykes.

Daniel Dykes is a writer for my favorite blog,

(Proceed with caution, photos may be offensive.)

Susannah Treese, senior fashion merchandising major, doesn’t find the ad offensive.

“You see it in fashion all the time,” said Treese. “Don’t buy his stuff if you don’t like the ad.”

Another senior fashion mechandising major, Amanda Nicklas, disagrees.

“Calvin Klein has a reputation for being sexy and seductive, but they could still be sexy with a toned image,” Nicklas said.

The two disagree with Australia pulling the ad. They both said Calvin Klein should address the issue.

“I think Calvin Klein reps should address the public and explain the concept of the ad,” said Treese.

Image from the Calvin Klein campaign

Calvin Klein isn’t the only designer that has used these tactics in their advertising.

This 2009 Armani Exchange ad was pulled in the UK, not because of the suggestive pose of the female, but because of the nudity in the background.

The same thing happened with Dolce & Gabbana in 2008.


I don’t understand how these ads help sell anything. I think it’s all about the image and getting into the head of the consumer.

If you can make someone think that they can fulfill some type of fantasy by wearing Armani Exchange, Calvin Klein or Tom Ford, they’ll buy the merchandise.

What do you think?


The most racy ad I’ve seen is Tom Ford’s 2008 campaign for his new fragrance.

I’ve searched this campaign for almost two years, and I still have no idea how this is supposed to promote the fragrance, but it certainly turns heads.


I don’t agree with the ads I have posted. I believe their intentions should be questioned.

I wouldn’t work for a company that used these types of ads to inspire endorsement of their brands.

I think ads like these are part of the reason why some people don’t take fashion seriously as a profession .

Sometimes, when I tell people what I study in college, they look at me as if they’re disappointed.

“What are you going to do with a fashion degree?”

I’ve been asked that countless times, and I typically get offended.

I must admit, I can understand why I get the questions they ask. When you hear fashion, I think your mind brings up images of bad taste.

In the fashion world we tend to push the envelope way too far, but we work hard.

Maybe all you can imagine is us playing with fabric or following Heidi Klum on Twitter, but you’d be surprised what goes into studying fashion.

It’s a competitive, cut-throat career. Sure, all of these ads are racy, but they are creative.

Someone had to take the time to come up with the concept then pitch the idea.

Then, they probably had to revise it and repropose it.

At IUP, we have to study textiles as part of the curriculum which involves chemistry. We have to understand how to forecast trends years in advance, and how to figure out what merchandise to buy.

If you’re a fashion major, you should tell me how you feel.


What some see as skanky, I see as brilliance.

Fashion is everywhere; in cars, homes, movie theaters, malls, amusement parks and video games.

Fashion is controversial, so let’s talk about it. If you’ve worn clothes at least once in your life, you should comment.

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4 Responses to Controversy is the perfect accessory

  1. T. Bristol says:

    I was going to say all this stuff but I’m just going to make bullet points to make it easier.
    -True, fashion and sexuality or what is taboo is subjective but we all can see and recognize the affects of over sexualization in our society. Many reality shows centered around random people coming together just to “interact” is geared around the inevitable occurrence of a sexual situation between people. The music we listen to and the whole dance culture enables people to sing about sex and pretty much have sex with their clothes on with random people everyday or night. Movies always have “the girl” and some physical interaction MUST occur 98 percent of the time. Sure there are many people who can control themselves but I’m not aware of this country ever having a TV show centered around teenagers having children. And people accept it.
    – The fashion industry is not the only one but they play a big part. Clothes are meant to cover and possibly protect from the elements, and yes I’m sure clothing has been used for more than that since the beginning but the way it is used now actually desensitized society and in my opinion does more bad for the population at large than it does good. Sure it makes people money, and allows people to tap into their creative side and allows people to feel good about what they put on but at the expense of the moral character of the society. Just look at the ads in your post, that use to be called porn at one point in the past, now it is an ad used to get people, regular people to buy clothing. Sure if I don’t like the ad I won’t buy the clothes but the ad has more effects than just to buy or not.
    -Its not really about the clothes and their style, whether they are tight or not, or if they reveal 80 percent of the body. It is mostly about how sex is marketed through the clothing industry. There are indigenous peoples still in the world today who don’t really wear any clothes but they are not as sexualized as we are in the “civilized” world. They don’t have extreme numbers of teen pregnancies, nor do they have single moms all over the place and they don’t seem to be wiping themselves out by spreading STDs. I’m not saying that I know, I’m saying what it seems. We have made sex into something unnatural, so unnatural that it is that cool and new (seemingly always new) thing that will catch people’s attention and keep them glued to the TV or radio or whatever. Speaking of radio I told you about the “poll” they did on the radio: Would you rather have sex with Beyonce who is infected with some STD or some other ugly chick who is desease free but she might be old or something. Then this past week they had another “poll” asking which would you rather be without, something which I can’t remember or sex. Why is this on the radio at 8 in the morning when I am driving to work, when everyone has mp3 players now a days which are capable of tuning into radio stations. Why is sex on the tip of everyone tongues, and if not everyone, then everyone who is entertaining us. (yes I know why)
    -There is nothing wrong with entertainment, and fashion and all that stuff, but sex is usually the common denominator, its everywhere and the consequences of it shows. I don’t understand why we keep feeding into this stuff but we complain about our kids having babies, or people getting raped.
    -I don’t really see the point in putting clothes on super beautiful people to show them off. Most people are average. Or maybe they are trying to say: you can have what they have if you look like them. Sounds stupid but some people still believe the earth is flat so its not that far fetched.
    It seems that all the rest of the animals in the world use whatever brain they have with moderation an are in balance with their environment, we on the other hand deplete our environment and over use our abilities. Jurassic Park has a very good quote that delivers an idea that I think most of of miss: On speaking about bringing Dinosaurs back into existence Ian Malcolm says “Your scientists were so pre-occupied with whether or not they could, they never stopped to asked if they should”. Speaks volumes.
    There is way more to say about this but this is all I care to waste time on, its such an obvious problem but we have accepted it as the status quo.
    No one cares about this issue and it will continue to go on and get worse with every generation.

  2. Ida Arici says:

    First, let me say that, while I don’t agree with the ads that are shoved in our faces, I feel that Calvin Klein has a right to produce whatever type of advertising the company sees fit.
    I agree with a lot of what T. Bristol had to say, though to say that no one cares about this issue is over generalizing because I care deeply about this issue and I am a someone. I could talk for years about that particular topic, but (s)he said enough for the both of us.
    As for your dilemma with people constantly asking what you’re going to do with your degree, I’m in the same boat. Apparently I’ll never be able to get a job with a degree in journalism, according to my family. But you and I know what it takes to make it within our respective fields and all we can do is keep on keepin’ on and prove to the nay-sayers that we can make it.

  3. Brittany says:

    T. Bristol:
    I agree, we live in a highly sexually world. I think I’d be willing to argue that using sex as a marketing tool was a result of an already sexualized society. I don’t believe fashion has ever been the cause. Actually, historians of dress have concluded that people started to wear dress, not for protection, but for decoration. A reason that is totally aesthetic.
    In the Middle East or in Greece where the climate was warm, dress was not needed. Specifically, elaborate dress was not needed.
    Some people don’t like to dress provocatively while others do. I don’t think the way one dresses should be correlated with teen pregnancies or rape.
    Rape is wrong regardless of what the victim is wearing. Teen pregnancy is sometimes a lack of parenting, or part of a cycle.
    Did you know that Adriana Lima, a lingerie model for Victoria’s Secret, was a virgin until she was married?
    I believe the nay-sayers will be at your feet with apologies once you’ve proven them wrong. I think you career will be quite prosperous.
    Thank you, both, for commenting.

  4. T. Bristol says:

    I will accept that sexualization didn’t develop in any one market, I never said that it did and I hope I didn’t imply that. What I’m saying and which goes back to my Jurassic park quote, people seeing the affects of sexualization has on our society you would think that they would be more cautious, you’d think that they would morally abstain from the immoral parts of the status quo.
    Also I would like to clarify that I don’t believe rape or teen pregnancy has any direct link to the fashion industry or any industry but what I am saying that when sex is the ongoing idea pushed upon and accepted by the masses you will have people who act irresponsible and sexually violent and I just think that people who produce ads like those above care not about that issue. Why keep the society as such? I’m not correlating the way a person dresses with anything. In fact I said the opposite: “Its not really about the clothes and their style, whether they are tight or not, or if they reveal 80 percent of the body. It is mostly about how sex is marketed through the clothing industry”. It doesn’t have anything to do with the people wearing the clothing as much as it has to do with the mentality that they marketing of the clothing is trying to sell. For example, you have two gun salesmen, one markets guns as a means of self defense, the other markets guns as a means to intimidate people and to feel more powerful to people. Same gun, different mentality or perspective that is sold/implanted in the individual. If we already have an over sexualized society, over meaning too much or unbalanced, one could easily imagine the scales being tipped further into the side of sex, which would result in an also unbalanced mentality.
    Yes, people always have the right to do whatever they want to do within the limits of the law, but the law only tells us what we shouldn’t do, it doesn’t tell us what we should do and I think it would be better if we did more to curb this kind of behavior in all sectors of life, not just at home.(Most people, especially parents spend most of their time outside the home anyhow) If we all contribute, how great would it be! Like when they say it takes a whole village to raise a child, we are just one really big village.

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