I Just Don’t Care About the Whole Abercrombie & Fitch Thing


This month in non-news:

Apparently H & M used some shots of a “plus-size” model (who really does not look plus sized to me) in their summer swim spread— something that H & M didn’t feel was a big enough deal to mention or publicize. Someone at Business Insider was savvy enough to note that Abercrombie & Fitch, by contrast, only carries women’s sizes up to a size 10, not even offering XL options or larger. To create controversy where there was none, the article resurfaced some comments Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries made in 2006, and the internet obligingly took up its pitchforks.

Look, A&F is not new to fashion what-the-fuckery. If you actually take the time to go back and read the 2006 Salon article, it details how A&F was criticized in 2002 for hawking thongs which read Eye Candy and Wink Wink on the front to middle-school girls (remember that?). Their ads and bags have always been borderline child pornography. Eyeroll-worthy tshirts sparking protest include It’s All Relative in West Virginia, Wong Brothers Laundry Service— Two Wongs Can Make It White, Who Needs a Brain When You Have These?Do I Make You Look Fat? and Gentlemen Prefer Tig Ol’ Bitties.


abercrombie & fitch bag


A&F has been doing everything in their power to alienate the general population, anyway, with their overpriced clothes that you can purchase at a state of “worn in” that translates to “pretty much falling apart.” They were pretty much responsible for making it acceptable for men to wear dressier foot thongs outside pool and locker room setting. I personally can barely make it through the door of their stores, as the music and overpowering reek of what Carrie Underwood so aptly dubbed “bathroom Polo” gives me a raging headache within seconds.

That’s intentional. Abercrombie doesn’t want my middle-aged, snarky money:

“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.”

Ah yes, the cool kids. The ones who are dressing sexy before their time, who graduate to defining themselves by how sexy they appear to be, who are totally behind advertising their racism, sexism, ignorance and bigotry on their chests.

“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.”

I actually don’t disagree with him. It’s important to recognize your target audience, your niche, your brand.

As a brand, Abercrombie is, in essence, the equivalent of that hot guy at a frat party who you were super excited to find coming on to you. Until you realize he’s dumb as rocks, all hands, and is only talking to you because he realizes how awesome you think he is.

They don’t care about you, they care about how much you love them and how much they can get out of you before you’ve sobered up enough to know any better.

“It’s almost everything. That’s why 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.”

Their target audience? Shallow status-seekers who have more money than sense. Who find entitlement, self-confidence and belonging through herd mentality and exclusionist behavior.

In short, Jeffries is a douchbag, and a 69-year-old douchebag at that.

He caters to the cult of sexy. He perpetuates the cult of sexy.

Every year I grow older, I understand more that sexy is not something a person is, it is how they appear to be; a byproduct and not an end; and frankly, what other people think of me is none of my business.

The idea that I would care what a 69-year-old douchebag thinks of me is laughable. I don’t care how he defines “cool kid” or “sexy” or at what size pants he thinks popular ends. I do think he should be allowed to brand his clothing any way he wants, and his being so vocal about it helps all of us.

Should you boycott Abercrombie & Fitch? My guess is if you care about any of this, you weren’t buying any of his overpriced junk anyway.

Should you donate your A&F to the homeless? Kristen at Rage Against the Minivan has 6 very good reasons not to #FitchTheHomeless, but my gut thought is that the homeless deserves better than to wear that badge of shame.

Because ultimately, Jeffries has done us a solid here. He’s straight up told us non-cool kids to save our money. His company has clearly positioned itself as a brand that provides uniforms for douchebags, by douchebags, conveniently slapping a label on people not worth your time.

That’s useful branding, yo. Every company should wear their ethics (or lack therof) so entirely on their sleeve.

I’m totally cool with that.


*Bag pictured is from a purchase years ago; we find it so ridiculous that we reuse it at Christmas every year, passing it back and forth. Manly “embellishment” was not my handiwork.*


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