American Apparel releases controversial new ad with topless former-Muslim model

American Apparel has sparked controversy once again with a new ad starring a topless former-Muslim model from Bangladesh.
The bold image, which appears in Vice magazine's U.S. and Canada editions, stars 22-year-old Maks, a merchandiser for American Apparel, who was born in Dhaka but has lived in California since the age of four.

The words 'Made in Bangladesh' are printed across her chest - referring to the woman, of course, not her jeans, a means of raising awareness about American Apparel's fair labor practices - all its clothing is made in downtown LA.
The powerful image is accompanied by a description of Maks, revealing how she was raised a strict Muslim but 'distanced herself' from her Islamic faith as she grew up, in search of her 'own identity.'
The words explain that the bare-chested beauty 'doesn't feel the need to identify herself as an American or a Bengali and is not content to fit her life into anyone else's conventional narrative.

'That's what makes her essential to the mosaic that is Los Angeles, and unequivocally, a distinct figure in the ever expanding American Apparel family.'
The striking ad is likely to cause some upset among traditional Muslims for linking a half naked model to a country where Islam is the dominant religion and nudity is frowned upon.

American Apparel, which was established in Canada in 1989, has a long history of sparking both celebration and outrage for its daring campaigns.
Recent activity includes a campaign featuring a 62-year-old model in lingerie and a New York based Valentine's stunt in which their window-front mannequins were given fake pubic hair.

It has been repeatedly blasted for pushing the boundaries, degrading women and even sexualising young girls in its famously provocative campaigns.

Last year, a series of 'gratuitous' ads were banned by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority for using 'overtly sexual images' of women who appear to be wearing no underwear.
The ASA said: 'Although we considered it was reasonable for ads for hosiery to feature women in limited clothing, we considered the images and the model's poses gratuitous.'
It's too early to tell what sort of reactions the latest ad will draw, but chances are this won't be the last we hear of it.