35 Controversial Fashion Ads

by: Esteban On  Tuesday, September 10, 2013

controversial fashion ads

Recently fashion label Kenneth Cole has been taking some heat for controversial tweets that make light of serious and sometimes tragic world events in order to announce new clothing lines. It all started with a tweet about the uprisings in Cairo a few years ago, and recently the label stirred things up again by making a reference to the debate over whether or not to take military action against Syria.

Of course, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that a fashion label would purposely court controversy on social media in order to gain publicity. The fashion industry has been doing it for years in print and television ads. Frankly, it’s kind of surprising that it took someone this long to do it on Twitter—and also surprising that no one else has jumped on the bandwagon yet.

However, in case you don’t believe me, I’ll prove it to you with today’s list, which features 35 controversial fashion advertisements. Take a look at them, then try to tell me Kenneth Cole is somehow worse that the rest of the industry.


35. Diesel's 'Be Stupid' Ad (Banned in UK)

31 Diesel Be Stupid ad banned in the uk 2010 - controverisal fashion ads

Apparently this ad was banned in the UK because it encouraged kids to do bad things. And, yeah, I guess it does pretty much explicitly do that.


34. Marithé Francois Girbaud Ad (Banned in France)

30 barithe & francois girbaud ad banned in france 2005 - controversial fashion ads

I was under the impression that the French had sort of lost their religion, so I find it somewhat surprising that this parody of The Last Supper was banned. It’s not even that bad, as far as sacrilegious things go.


33. United Colors of Benneton Ad (Banned in Italy)

29 united colors of benetton unhate pope kiss ad 2011 - controversial fashion ads

The Italians love them some Pope, so it’s not surprising that this ad featuring Pope Benedict smooching an Imam was banned…even though the message is positive.


32. Tom Ford Finger Bite Ad (Banned in Italy)

28 tom ford ad banned in italy 2008 - controversial fashion ads

If Italy didn’t like this ad, they must have gone nuts for the ones we’ll see later on. Stay tuned.


31. Levi's Commercial (Banned in UK)

This ad really isn’t bad at all. In fact, it’s pretty clever and funny. But I guess the folks at the British Advertising Standards Authority did not see it that way.


30. Roger David Ad (Banned in Australia)

27 roger david ad banned in australia 2011 - controversial fashion ads

This ad was banned in Australia because authorities said it presented a sexualized image of a minor. They didn’t care that the designer was in fact trying to make some political statement about the national debt.


29. Yves Saint Laurent Ad

26 yves saint laurent lady in white ad 2000 - controversial fashion ads

Straight up nudity in fashion ads is pretty much always going to be controversial, but this is especially the case when there is writhing involved.


28. Diesel's 'Cop a Feel' Ad

25 diesel cop a feel ad 2006 - controversial fashion ads

It’s a d**k in a bag.


27. Diesel's 'Foursome' Ad

24 diesel foursome ad 2006 - controversial fashion ads

Yeah, this one is pretty scandalous I guess. (That’s what I call multitasking.)


26. Diesel's 'Kick Ass Sneakers' Commercial (Banned)

I guess it’s a little crass for primetime on the big broadcast networks, but I don’t see why this banned ad couldn’t have run late at night on basic cable. Sure, it’s lowbrow, but it’s also pretty funny.


25. Miu Miu Ad (Banned in UK)

23 miu miu hailee steinfeld ad banned in uk 2011 - controverisal fashion ads

This ad featuring Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit was banned in the UK because they said it looked like she was going to commit suicide. I’m not sure I see that myself, but then again I don’t know why else she’d be sitting on the railroad tracks.


24. Emanuel Ungaro Ad

22 emanuel ungaro masturbation ad (2002) - controversial fashion ads

Apparently people get upset when ads feature nudity and masturbation. Who knew?


23. Abercrombie Catalogue Cover

21 abercombie catalogue - controverisal fashion ads

Abercrombie & Fitch catalogues have been getting people all upset for a long time. This is just one example why.


22. Suit Supply Ad #1 (Banned from Facebook)

20 suit supply ad banned from facebook 2 - controverisal fashion ads

Don’t see what the big deal it here. Just a guy in a sharp suit sitting next to a woman itching her breast. It’s totally natural.


21. Suit Supply Ad #2 (Banned from Facebook)

19 suit supply ad banned from facebook 3 - controverisal fashion ads

Now, the uproad over this Suit Supply ad I get. You don’t want your kids seeing that while their talking to online predators on Facebook.


20. Suit Supply Ad #3 (Banned from Facebook)

18 suit supply ads banned from facebook - controverisal fashion ads

And of course this Suit Supply ad really pushes the boundaries. Though, from an artistic point of view, I do kind of like the idea of photographs of people doing pornographic things while fully dressed.


19. Gucci Ad (Under Tom Ford)

17 gucci (under tom ford) logo ad 2003 - controversial fashion ads

Tom Ford is credited with saving Gucci, and part of this salvation was being more provocative.

What’s under the black bar? The Gucci “G” logo…groomed into this young woman’s nether regions.


18. Fly53 Ad (Banned in UK)

16 fly53 ad banned in britain 2010 - controversial fashion ads

For some reason this ad for streetwear lable Fly53 was banned. Maybe it’s because it glamorizes gun violence or something?


17. Marc Jacobs 'Lola' Perfume Ad

15 marc jacobs lola perfume dakota fanning 2011 - controversial fashion ads

Teenage actress Dakota Fanning in an ad for perfume called “Lola”? Yeah, that’s definitely too far.


16. Lake and Stars 'Mother and Daughter' Ad

14 lake and stars mother daughter ad (2011) - controversial fashion ads

Also too far? This mother and daughter embracing in sexy lingerie, with ever-so-slightly erotic looks on their faces.


15. Agent Provacateur Kylie Minogue Ad

No question why this ad was banned from television. Kylie Minogue in lingerie riding a velvet mechanical bull is way too sexy for prime time.


14. Agent Provacateur Fleurs de Mal Ad

This ad has more creepy and less straight up sexy than the last Agent Provacateur ad, which I think actually makes it worse.


13. Sisley Bull Ad

13 sisley ad bull model with spread legs ad - controverisal fashion ads'

Up next we have three straight ads from Sisley. This one is by far the least controversial of the three, so buckle your seat belts.


12. Sisley Cocaine Ad

12 sisley cocaine ad 2007 - controversial fashion ads

See what I mean? YAY DRUGS!!! (Though I have to say, it is kind of funny, too.)


11. Sisley Cow's Milk Ad

11 sisley cow milking ad 2001 - controversial fashion ads

This one is so utterly disgusting (see what I did there?) that I had to black out most of it. I think you internet savvy gentlemen will get the gist of it, though.


10. Cadaux Ad

10 cadeaux child ad - controverisal fashion ads

Yeah, you know what’s really creepy? Children made up like adults. Shame on you, Cadeaux.


9. American Apparel Tights Ad

9 american apparel tights ad - controverisal fashion ads

Pretty much every American Apparel ad is controversial. However, I decided to just keep things simple and pick two. This ad for tights (and boobs and sex) is the first.


8. American Apparel 'Porno' Ad

8 american apparel ad - controversial fashion ads

Usually American Apparel ads are just extremely suggestive. This one, however, borders on pornographic. It’s pretty extreme even for them.


7. Fluid Salon's Domestic Abuse Ad

7 fluid salon ad (edmonton) - controversial fashion ads

And speaking of things that are pretty extreme, how about this ad making light of domestic abuse? It’s from a hair salon in Edmonton. As in, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Aren’t abused women hilarious???


6. Tom Ford for Men Ad #1

6 tom ford for men ad 1 - controversial fashion ads

Remember when I said we’d be seeing some pretty controversial Tom Ford ads? Well, here we go. And even this one is tame compared to what’s ahead.


5. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Ad

5 tom-ford-neroli-portofino ad - controversial fashion ads

Don’t worry, they’re not having intercourse. They’re just wrestling around in cologne. Naked. Like you do.


4. Calvin Klein Rape Ad

4 calvin klein rape ad 2010 - controversial fashion ads

Nothing says “great jeans” like gang rape, amiright?

(Just to make sure I don’t get hate mail, let me be clear: that was sarcasm. I think this ad is horrible.)


3. Dolce & Gabbana Rape Ad #2


Apparently Dolce & Gabbana liked Calvin Klein’s gang rape ad, because they made one of their own.

Actually, they made several of their own. And they don’t just feature women getting (fashion) raped, either…


2. Dolce & Gabbana Rape Ad #2

2 dolce & gabbana male rape ad - controverisal fashion ads

Yep. Male gang rape. Say what you want about Dolce & Gabbana, but at least their equal opportunity perverts.


1. Tom Ford for Men Ad #2

1 tom ford for men ad 2 - controversial fashion ads

And the number one most controversial fashion ad? Well, it’s not the one with the most controversial concept, but the most graphic image.

Of course, I had to block out over 50% of this thing, but I think you can tell that there’s a naked woman there with her legs spread. What you cannot tell, of course, is that there is a bottle of cologne barely covering her special lady parts.

If you’re just dying to see this one or any other that’s been blacked out here, just hit up Google…but at home. This stuff will get you fired from most workplaces.