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Sounding off about Abercrombie & Fitch

Friday, May 10, 2013

“I don’t want our core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing our clothing.”

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “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.”

The quotes above are attributed to Michael Jeffries, Chief Executive Officer, Abercrombie & Fitch clothing retailer.

In case you were not aware, the She Beast is a bit militant at times and ALWAYS an activist fighting against what is unfair and unjust. Fair warning - there is a naughty word here and there, not too many, but one or two.

Unless you don't have facebook, don't read or watch the news on tv, internet, or in print, or have been hiding under a rock somewhere, you have no doubt heard the disparaging comments made by Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries towards those he deems not cool enough, attractive enough, thin enough, nor popular enough to wear A&F clothing. After reading numerous articles about the company and the man, I've discovered that their hiring practices also are hateful and discriminatory.

It's all good that they only will sell clothing up to size 10. Specializing is nothing new. We have numerous clothing stores dedicated to size 12 and over, so why not a store for the thin? What is no bueno is the attitude behind it all. You have to fit into the clothing to work there. You have to fit into the mold they deem is attractive, All-American, popular, cool. I've been to Lane Bryant many, many times over the years, as well as Catherine's and Avenue. The mixture of people working there ranges from petite to tall, thin to heavy, dark to light, young to middle aged and beyond. Many of the women at Lane Bryant are too thin to wear their clothing or anything in the store except for scarves and jewelry. They practice nondiscriminatory hiring. The same cannot be said for A&F.

I think what burns my butt more than anything else about this whole situation is that the attitude being put forth by the brand brings back a lot of hateful, hurtful moments to a lot of people. Those who were told in school, by either look or verbally, that they couldn't sit at certain tables for lunch because they didn't fit in can identify with this. Those who didn't get asked to the most popular girl's slumber or birthday parties, to prom, to be a part of a certain clique - those who were made to feel less by the actions of others are certain to be dredging up memories from the past (or even present) by the recent flurry of publicity about the awfulness of Mr. Jeffries' attitude.

I'll leave you with a few articles you may or may not have read that really made me smile. People are standing up to this Hate Talk and letting Mr. Jeffries and A&F know they won't stand for it. Here's two of my favorites, both open letters to A&F CEO Michael Jeffries. The first one is from a self-described "fat chick" from my birth city of Columbus, Ohio, which is also where the headquarters for A&F is located.


The second is from a mom of three daughters, all of whom fit the Abercrombie and Fitch definition of the clientele they seek out, who is teaching her daughters by example to stand up for what is right even when they are not the ones being singled out or bullied:


And if you are on facebook, please save this meme and post it on your facebook status. I'm hoping it will go viral. I copied something my brother posted and turned it into a meme. He is calling for all people of size - employed or not - to apply for jobs and A&F and when none get hired he is advocating for a class action discrimination lawsuit to prove that their hiring practices are unethical and illegal, something many have been saying for years!

Now, to be a little bit bitchy, I just have to post this picture of Mr. Jeffries and ask you - doesn't this hideously over botoxed and extremely eye-lifted fool look like he might be the secret love child of Ms. Joan Rivers? Is THIS what he deems as "attractive"? I'm all for plastic surgery, but it looks like he got his plastic from Mattel!

and a kind of naughty meme I found:

And I leave you with a little smile from Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley, because we are ALL good enough. As always, I love you all.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You know, at first, I was so heated over this. What this man is essentially saying is that if you're overweight, you cannot possibly be attractive or popular. Mmmkay. Let me just say, that even though I have ALWAYS been on the fluffy side, I have always had a lot of friends, have been well-known, well-liked, and judging by the fact that I am happily married and have had boyfriends since I was 15, I'm going to say that I must be reasonably attractive. Way to go on that logic there, chief. Stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it! I think I've been in an A&F maaaaaaaaybe twice. I wasn't impressed. I could find clothes that were just as trendy in tons of other stores... and at a much lower cost. I never really lamented not being able to fit into their stuff, and once I reach my goal weight, I somehow doubt that I'll ever set foot in there. Really, A&F was never what all the popular kids wore where I grew up, it was what all the kids who could afford it wore, and there weren't many of them. Whatever. No skin off my nose. I don't need his crappy attitude hanging out in my walk-in, kthx.
    2107 days ago
    I've never understood why anyone would pay to dress their kids in that stuff anyway...I ain't buying what they're sellin'. Unfortunately, it seems society is and we continue our death spiral.
    2109 days ago
  • MJ7DM33
    I agree with AHAPPYLIFE!
    2109 days ago
    I've never been particularly interested in A&F, as their clientele seem to be the sort of people I want to avoid...I did see a severely disabled pre-teen wearing one of their shirts yesterday while waiting for my son at the orthodontist office. I'm sure he isn't exactly what the CEO had in mind for wearing A&F clothes, and it kinda made me smile a bit. :D
    2109 days ago
    CECE0330, I respect your opinion and your information, but despite the quotes being made in 2006, as has been remarked upon, they didn't make headlines until published from an interview by retail industry analyst Robin Lewis in his book, The New Rules of Retail, which isn't that old. Abercrombie and Fitch, and more directly their CEO has been controversial in his behavior and attitudes for a long, long, time, this is true. I don't see that it matters when he said it, the point is that he did say it and the company still stands by this attitude. Dollars do talk, and of course most of us here would never shop there, but WORDS DO HAVE POWER - especially to those with esteem and body issues already. Not everyone is as strong as you or me in our own convictions and self worth. Advocating against injustice serves everyone, especially those unable to find their voice. If the attitude projected by the company was derogatory towards blacks, gays, disabled persons, mentally ill people, those with scars, those of certain ethnic or religious persuasions, would we care WHEN they said it or tell our daughters to not let it bother us? I don't think so. My blog was my opinion, and it stands. I thank you for yours, as you made some very valid points...but like the clothes at A&F, they don't fit everyone.
    2109 days ago
  • CECE0330
    #1 I'm curious as to why these comments, made in 2006 to a reporter for Salon are NOW exploding all over the internet? I can't seem to find a source. It's weird though. Also, what I did read on it didn't seem to be a VERIFIED quote. Not defending him at all, I just like to try to dig for the facts, and there seems to be so few connected to the origin of this story.
    #2 I honestly can't see how ANYONE EVER goes in there because the smell is so incredibly obnoxious, i have actually crossed over to the other side of the mall to avoid it. It's like repellant! lol.
    #3 Having to call something "cool" usually means it isn't. If it were, people would just know. As the CEO of a company, one would not need to label their product as such unless they were feeling inadequate.
    #4 Here is what I tell my daughters: Words only have the power WE allow them to have. Had everyone simply ignored this D-Bag's alleged comments, the resurfaced article would have passed quietly into the night. But the uproar has given them a crap ton of publicity (remember the old saying: There's no such thing as BAD publicity?) and perhaps created a line of division in the under-size-ten crowd "Ooh, I'm gonna go there because I can fit into their clothes. Hence I am cool." (ha, refer to #3)
    #5 As always, don't like something? The surefire way to get your message across is to stop spending your money there. Maybe not everyone is a size 10 or under, but everyone KNOWS a size 10 or under and has likely SHOPPED for that person before. No more gift cards for them, no buying for children, friends, etc. The almighty dollar carries a stronger message than any letter ever will.
    2109 days ago
    Plain & simple - he is a bully in big boys clothes! I'll never walk in to another A&F store. Vote with your wallet!
    2109 days ago
    i'm in my 60s. i don't know how long A&F have been in retail, but for as long as i can remember, that has been their attitude and rationale. as i heard it in the song: no new news here. frankly, i don't find their clothing styles any different from land's end or j j crew, and i don't care for any of them. give me gitano or chico.
    2109 days ago
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