The fashion brand, no stranger to controversy, posted a picture of a young female model in a mini-skirt leaning over a car on its UK Instagram feed, provoking the ire of social media users.
A blogger called Emilie, who runs the anygirlfriday.com blog, spotted the post and tweeted about it, stating: "American Apparel - their 'back to school' skirts fuelling Lolita fantasies and rampant sexism a plenty."
She added: "The way in which American Apparel objectify and sexualise female bodies is damaging and rooted in patriarchal notions about a woman's worth."
The images were subsequently removed from American Apparel’s Twitter and Instagram feeds.
American Apparel - their 'back to school' skirts fuelling Lolita fantasies and rampant sexism a plenty ?? pic.twitter.com/CzmY6KSXDz— Em (@anygirlfriday) August 6, 2014
American Apparel has often caused controversy with its advertising. In 2011, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) criticised the brand over a series of "gratuitous" and "overtly sexual" images on its website.
The ASA also branded the retailer "irresponsible" in 2009 for a print ad showing a young woman partially naked.