Double Standards: FKA Twigs Addresses Advertisement Ban Controversy

Calvin Klein ad, featuring FKA Twigs banned by the Advertising Standards Authority in UK for being overly sexual and depicting the artist as a "stereotypical sexual object."

Aastha Tiwari
New Update
FKA Twigs Photographed for Calvin Klein

Photo Source: Instagram

Designers and creative directors love challenging themselves, and pushing their boundaries in the name of fashion. From Calvin Klein's Brooke Shields advert to Tom Ford's sexy ads to YSL’s ad, provocative, sensual shots are seen as an advertising genius. But sometimes, they land as marketing disasters. Exactly what's brewing with Calvin Klein's ad campaign, featuring FKA Twigs. 


The Advertising Standards Authority in the U.K. confirmed on Wednesday that it had registered two complaints stating that a 2023 advertisement with FKA Twigs was overly sexualised, and was:

  1. offensive and irresponsible, because they objectified women; and

  2. inappropriate for display in an untargeted medium.

The ad, part of Calvin Klein's spring collection shows FKA Twig wearing a denim shirt, halfway around her body with the side of her buttocks and half of one breast visible. Above her, the text reads: “Calvins or nothing”.

Genius marketing, one might assume. Back in the 80s, Brooke Shields rhetorically asked in ads for the brand she had done, “You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

However, the ASA ruled the "image's composition placed viewers' focus on the model's body rather than on the clothing being advertised". Furthering their argument, it stated that the ad focused on Twig's “physical features rather than the clothing, to the extent that it presented her as a stereotypical sexual object.”

To make themselves heard, the British regulator has sent out a warning saying, “We told Calvin Klein Inc. to ensure that future ads did not irresponsibly objectify women and were targeted appropriately.”


What Did CK say to this? 

In response, Calvin Klein Inc. said the ads were similar to the ads that they had been publishing in the UK for many yearsWhat'sat more, they are known for being a pioneering and progressive brand. In their view, the ads did not overly sexualise Kendall Jenner or FKA Twigs. In fact, both models had consented and collaborated with Calvin Klein and approved the images before publishing. They highlighted that well-known men had also featured in the campaign, which suggested that it was not focused on sexualising women. Additionally, all conventionally sensitive body areas were fully covered in the ads, and the subjects were in natural and neutral positions.

Following the news, FKA Twigs took to Instagram to register her response on the matter.

Calling out the “double standards” in the industry, she said, “I do not see the ‘stereotypical sexual object’ that they have labelled me. I see a beautiful strong woman of colour whose incredible body has overcome more pain than you can imagine.” The artist further said she was proud of her physicality and cited the likes of Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, and Grace Jonas who inspired her in creating the art she is proud of. She thanked Calvin Klein and others for this opportunity for this empowering project and said, “I will not have my narrative changed.”

She is getting all the love and support from others in the entertainment industry on her post. 

objectification FKA twigs calvin klein ad