Campaigning against Abercrombie & Fitch
Look at these models. Is there anything wrong with them? No. They are perfect. They have perfect bodies. They have perfect hair. They are “cool”. These are some of many Abercrombie & Fitch models – the brand synonymous for its sexual appeal and the idealism of the “American dream”.
Well, maybe not everyone’s dream, but certainly Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries’ idea of “perfect”. In 2006 he ever so boldly stated: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. 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. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
Talk about controversial! Instead of reaching out to people, he blatantly closes the door off to people who are not skinny, have no friends and do not have enough money to purchase his clothing. Talk about Mr Popular.
Taking action against A&F, LA-based writer Greg Karber has launched a new campaign to urge the public to donate any unwanted Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to the homeless.
Did you know that A&F reportedly burns their faulty clothing, rather than giving it to charity?
In order to bring everyone’s attention to these actions, Greg has created a short film showing himself buying Abercrombie pieces from a charity shop and handing them out to homeless people in Los Angeles.
The message attempts to rebrand the label – make it accessible to people of every race, size and stature. Greg is making a powerful point here: who has the right to call one person perfect as opposed to another?
To redeem himself, Mike released a statement on Abercrombie’s Facebook page, arguing that his former comments were “taken out of context”. “I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offence. A&F is an inspirational brand that, like most specialty apparel brands, targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers. However, we care about the broader communities in which we operate and are strongly committed to diversity and inclusion. We hire good people who share these values. We are completely opposed to any discrimination, bullying, derogatory characterisations or other anti-social behaviour based on race, gender, body type or other individual characteristics.”
He has also been quoted as saying: “We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
Wake up Mike! The average American is not skinny, blonde or has a washboard stomach, but looks like this and eats fast food on a regular basis.