Is there a limit to the freedom of expression when it comes to fashion commercialism?

Text: Iliana Deligiorgi



For American Apparel it’s almost a tradition, for Tom Ford and Sisley it’s the case of “fool me once, shame on you- fool me twice, shame on me.” It also has to do with all kinds of misdoings, from racism, to sexism and the sexualisation of underaged kids. Is there a limit to what can or cannot be encoded in a fashion advertisement? Or the commercial part of fashion belongs to its artistic part and as a result everything should be allowed? Maybe the answer to the matter is far more complicated than it actually seems, but one thing is for certain: the advertisement teams and companies that built those kind of campaigns know exactly what they do and how much talk will be around the product.

The Advertising Standards Authority is dealing each year with thousands of cases and the latest ban was on the Miu Miu advertisement pictured right above. Mia Goth, the 22-year-old model and actress, is -of course- photographed by Steven Meisel in clothes and shoes much bigger than her regular size, looking right at the camera with the innocent look of a much younger girl. The pose, considered sexually suggestive, is described as preposterous and in association with the underaged image of Mia Goth, it is now banned because it is thought to promote child sexualisation. A wrongful or a inevitable action?

Take a look at more similar cases below and decide for yourself whether some of the advertisement needed to be banned or the advertisement authorities just tried to officially legalise a decision taken by certain audiences.




Tom Ford1120396

Yves Saint Laurent

American Apparelamerican-apparel_2467135a

American Apparelamerican-apparel_2531894a


Dolce & Gabbana2-dolce-gabbana-male-rape-ad-controverisal-fashion-ads




Tom Ford28-tom-ford-ad-banned-in-italy-2008-controversial-fashion-ads


Miu Miumiu-miu_2467149a

Marc Jacobs