American Apparel has long been criticized for not carrying items above “Large” (which, by their sizing chart, amounts to a 10/12) …an omission that affected what is essentially the “average” American woman. They’ve now announced plans to make a few styles available in Size XL and to coincide with the announcement, they’ve launched a plus-size model search. In typical American Apparel fashion, they have named it… Next BIG Thing. Here is the copy:

Think you are the Next BIG Thing?
Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up.
Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We’ll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL!
Show us what you’re workin’ with!

Now, some may applaud American Apparel for finally getting around to manufacturing clothing that more people can wear. Some may object to the patronizing tone (wiggle room?!). Some may be a bit disturbed by the mechanics of the contest itself: visitors are invited to vote on the models, with a 1-5 rating system, and each woman’s rank is displayed beside her. Like so:
But at the end of the day, no one should be surprised by this: this is almost certainly a shrewd financial decision for the struggling company.
(top photo via Jezebel)