'War on leggings' nothing new, says American Apparel CEO

Dov Charney, the chairman and CEO of retailer American Apparel, says that school bans on skin-tight leggings is nothing new in the history of clothing.

Some Canadian, U.S. school boards have banned form-fitting clothing

Some schools across North America are banning students from wearing tight-fitting clothing, such as leggings. (iStock)

A Vermont high school's recent ban on skin-tight leggings seems to be part of a larger trend spreading across North America.

Over the last year, school boards in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Halifax have all prohibited their students from wearing form-fitting clothing such as leggings, skinny jeans and yoga pants.

One man at the centre of the so-called 'war on leggings' is Dov Charney, chairman and CEO of American Apparel, a leading retailer and manufacturer of the body-hugging garment.

Speaking to CBC Radio’s As It Happens, the Montreal native said these kinds of battles over clothing are nothing new.

"There’s always going to be a tug of war of young people wanting to wear certain things and perhaps the academic institutions wanting them to wear other things. I think it will always be part of the history of clothing," Charney said, pointing out that similar bans on denim jeans in the '60s and '70s prompted Levi's to invent the corduroy pant.

Charney, whose company has faced criticism in the past for its sexualized advertisements, also said that what is deemed provocative is "all relative."

"One could say this age is more provocative than the age of when the boomers were young adults, but then one could look at Victorian clothing and the bustiers of that time and say that they’re even more revealing," Charney said.

While Charney believes that schools do have a right to draw a line on what students are allowed to wear, he said he hopes that both sides can find a compromise.

"Somehow I’m sure the students and the school administration will find a middle ground…hopefully in the Canadian form," he said. "I hope there’s no bloodshed over it."