Ariel Apparel

November 28, 2009

It has come to my attention that American Apparel bras are heavily influenced by Ariel’s apparel in The Little Mermaid (1989).

An old friend of mine said that “Ariel is basically just wearing a bandeau top…except that it’s shells”.

Thus, I deduce that Ariel is wearing the equivalent of one of American Apparel’s Tube Bras (seen below).

How much, then, has American Apparel been influenced by the retroactive valuation of late-Reaganite sealife? Perhaps it indicates a neo-Freudian connection between childhood sexuality and its fashionable expression in lamé underwear. This bra is constructed of 80% cotton and 20% elastane. Perhaps this symbolises the conflict between the comfort and domesticity of childhood and the supple excitement of a new found eroticism. Or, perhaps Ariel’s bodaciousness, her slinky cavorting, influenced Dov Charney’s vision of a clothing brand entirely advertised by slightly-clad, often unconventionally attractive, rail thin, girls.

Ariel herself is a dreamer. She longs to escape the trappings of her molecularly questionable world. She has been a clear influence on the ‘teenage girl sighing and positing her eyelashes skyward’ thing- prime examples of this include every Sofia Copolla film, M83’s Graveyard Girl, and LiveJournal. With regards to the latter, there is also a clear connection with the ‘poetically misplaced semi-colon’ thing. She ‘wants to be where the people are’, just like American Apparel employees. They wear fashionable clothes in fashionable areas of London, but they’re unable to strut about those streets and have to, instead, settle for aspirationally fashionable customers and unflattering lighting. Conveniently, The Little Mermaid took $40,227,000 at the box-office, which is about as much as individual American Apparel items cost.

The film grossed over $200,000,000 worldwide. Nonetheless, it’s pleasantly surprising how a film made 20 years ago- at the birth of our current stage of commoditised culture- can still be so visually relevant. Perhaps, the fact that The Little Mermaid signalled the renaissance of the Disney franchise also signals the birth of media omnipresence, which is what we now ultimately consider culture: mass marketing, advertising techniques that straddle American sentimentality and genuine artistry, and appealing to both adults and children with the same product for different reasons.

Think about it.


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