Hello-hello and happy middle of the week to all of our treasured readers.
Today we wanted to chat about a news item involving a member of the AntiPrep Wall of Shame. Yes, we’re talking about these folks.
(With apologies, I wasn’t sure if this sort of picture would be considered Not Safe For Work, you wouldn’t believe how hard it was to get a screen grab that didn’t show more!)
have been subjected to endless carping may have noted our occasional posts about the company. It’s true we are forever harkening back have referenced this artifact before, the label from one of my turtlenecks. (I know, it’s so last century.)
The garment is not from Abercrombie’s heyday, but it certainly predates current ownership and management by a few decades. Or so. We are nothing if not frugal.
The point is this harkens back to a company that would never target pre-pubescent girls for push-up bikinis (remember the ‘Ashley push-up triangle top‘ for those 8 to 14 years of age?), nor would they market to your tween and teenage daughters with ads like these.
Or get them to sign up for the “A & F Club,” with a website front page like this.
That Abercrombie & Fitch may have gone bankrupt and ultimately been out of business. But at least they didn’t engage in the sort of thing the current company seems to enjoy. Some readers may know where I’m heading with this. Yes, it’s more about those news stories from last week quoting from a 2006 Salon interview with the brand’s CEO, Mike Jeffries.
“Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.
The quotes resurfaced when a retail analyst, Robin Lewis, wrote about the company’s refusal to stock Large or Extra Large sizes for women. More from the Los Angeles Times:
“As far as Jeffries is concerned,” wrote reporter Benoit Denizet-Lewis in Salon, “America’s unattractive, overweight or otherwise undesirable teens can shop elsewhere.”
Dear Mr. Jeffries:
Thank you for clarifying the reason you do not carry sizes larger than a 10 at Abercrombie. Your customer is an “attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and lots of friends.” I am a mom of 3 daughters, ages 17, 13, and 10. They are all thin, attractive, all-American kids with great attitudes and lots of friends. They shop at Abercrombie. I believe they are your target audience.
Please find the enclosed clothing, purchased at our local Abercrombie/Abercrombie and Fitch stores. My thin, popular, cool kids will not need them anymore.
Not only will I not let my kids shop at Abercrombie again, I will not let them wear what they already have in their closets. Normally I donate our unwanted clothes, but in this case, I wouldn’t want any unsuspecting thin, cool person to send the message that being exclusionary is OK.
A Change.org petition was started asking the company to “make clothes for teens of all sizes”; it now has more than 20,000+ signatures. The organizer hopes to get to 25,000.
And yesterday word came of a California man named Greg Karber, who created his own method to “re-adjust the brand”. His idea? Purchase Abercrombie & Fitch clothes at the local thrift store and give them to homeless people, or clean out your closet and donate them. More from the Daily News:
It’s payback for outlandish comments Jeffries made in 2006, when he admitted he only wants to sell clothes to “cool kids” of a certain size and social status.
“Abercrombie & Fitch only wants a certain kind of person to be wearing their clothes,” Greg Karber says in a video explaining his project. “Today, we’re going to change that brand.”
Some are taking those suggestions to heart:
The ‘hashtag’ being used to promote giving A&F clothing to those less fortunate is #FitchTheHomless.
Personally, I am not crazy about the practice of making presumptions based on someone’s appearance, i.e., “the homeless”. Nor does it sit right thinking that homeless individuals are so awful they are bound to strike at the core of Mr. Jeffries being. But do I appreciate the notion of people doing something about a business practice they don’t like? Yes.
Buzzfeed has its own record of the goings-on.
Much of it actually seems as hostile as Mr. Jeffries’s attitude toward anyone over a Size 10. But there are also more reasoned approaches, like this image Jamie Smith posted on Twitter.
In case you are unable to see what the note says, it reads:
I’m not a size 10 or under and I’m beautiful! I love myself for who I am and my size. You’re just an overgrown bully who isn’t happy in life. Remember that next time you want to judge people because of their weight.
P.S. Your clothes line sucks.
Love The Beautiful Fat Chick
Now, are Mr. Jeffries and his marketing department probably reveling in all of the attention the brand is receiving? Probably. But they won’t be if enough people stop buying their merchandise.