Abercrombie & Fitch, backlash


The exclusively exclusionary clothing brand is back in the news again this week with protesters planning to donate A&F clothes to the homeless. You can also see the hashtag, #FitchtheHomeless.

At best, this reinforces exclusion, only the coolest can wear the latest season A&F attire. Everyone else is in the homeless category.

You can go to any Goodwill or Salvation Army store and find A&F branded clothing. Lots of items. A&F is probably just as aware of this and they probably don’t care, because the items are “last season.”

The store employees are required to dress in this season’s line. The catalogue features the current season and the cool kids A&F is courting want to wear the latest and greatest.

At worst, isn’t this just Zoolander in real life?

Not that wikipedia is the most appropriate source, but it gives a good summary.

“‘Derelicte’ is the name given to the fashion line designed by Will Ferrell’s character Mugatu. It is described by Mugatu in the film as ‘a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.’ The fashion line consists of clothing made from everyday objects that could be found on the streets of New York. Derelicte is a parody of a real fashion line created by John Galliano in 2000.”

Clothing donations already happen, a mass campaign to donate A&F clothes to the homeless won’t impact the retailer’s bottom line.

Do you disagree? Will you participate?

Abercrombie & Fitch is just being Abercrombie & Fitch

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The internet seems to be in an uproar of Abercrombie & Fitch’s newest insult, large people (specifically women) shouldn’t wear their clothes. At least the company is honest about their brand and expectations.

Communications expert, Tim Miles, author of Good Company: Making It, Keeping It, and Being It wrote in his blog, the Daily Blur that A&F is the anti-Dove, anti-inclusive. He goes on to explain why this is good business and advertising for the A&F brand.

“I think public protests outside their stores would make CEO Jeffries squeal with glee,” Miles wrote. “He welcomes this publicity as a siren song to his shallow end of the pool.”

Miles is 100 percent right.

A&F seems to have the spotlight every few years whether it’s with their hiring practices (or firing practices), the outlandish and teen-coveted, sexualized magazine or a $50 T-shirt with an explicit message (see the entire product criticism on the A&F wikipedia page).

The main point is that the general public and media are talking about A&F and all those conversations just make the cool kids want to buy the clothes and others to see what they’re missing.

Exclusion is nothing new for A&F and it isn’t hurting the business bottom line. It may not be ethical, kind or bettering the world in any way, but is selling clothes, albeit skimpy, overly expensive clothes.

Vote with consumer dollars, if you don’t like their business practices, you don’t have to shop there. Just be wary of forbidding your teenagers from shopping at A&F, it will probably lead to them buying the clothes and telling you they’re borrowing it from their bestie. (Not that I ever did that myself…)

Full disclosure: I interviewed for a job at A&F in college. I made the mistake of not wearing a full, current season A&F outfit to the interview (apparently an A&F t-shirt and A&F jeans weren’t enough, I was supposed to wear the jewelry, perfume and flip-flops too) and ultimately wasn’t hired.