I absolutely love Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, and Abercrombie, just like every other teen girl in America. Up until last week, my main reasons for loving it were the ads, which never show their products, just shirtless homoerotic dudes, the smothering cologne which they pump into their stores on the hour (so reliable!), and their always chic yet tacky clothing (who doesn’t love thongs for 11-year olds)! Last week, I was able to have yet another reason to LOVE the mall brand which sells “sexy” to tweens! Comments from 2006 by Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries surfaced. Here is an excerpt from the article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis, For example, when I ask him how important sex and sexual attraction are in what he calls the “emotional experience” he creates for his customers, he says, “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.” Phew. I sure am glad that Mr. Jeffries would never market to “not-cool kids.” I mean, how dare the “unpopular kids” want to shop at Abercrombie! They’re not all-American. Abercrombie and Fitch is highly exclusionary, which is why it’s my favorite store, and should be yours too!
Now, in all seriousness, the reason Jeffries’ 2006 comments are coming out now is because of a Buisness Insider article on how Abercrombie and Fitch doesn’t stock XL or XXL sizes because they don’t want “plus-size” women wearing their clothes. Abercrombie’s largest women’s pant size is a 10. The average size of the American woman is an 8. And, I will tell you that Abercrombie sizes run small.
Wow. He sure looks like someone you want your teenage son or daughter to buy clothes from.
In 2006, this man sat in front of a journalist and flat-out said that they want to market to cool, good-looking people. Well, Mr. Jeffries, did you know that 47% of girls say that the pressure to look attractive is the hardest part of being a girl? Did you know that 48% of young women ages 16-21 would consider cosmetic surgery to improve the way they look? Did you know that 40% of boys in middle and high school exercise regularly with the goal to increase muscle mass (not for being healthy/fit), and that more than 90% of girls 15-17 want to change at least one thing about their appearance, with body weight being the number one item?
Mr. Jeffries, self-esteem is an epidemic, and brands like yours should strive to help tweens, teens, and young adults feel better about themselves. Healthy teen boys shouldn’t walk by your grotesquely sexual posters and think to themselves “I’m going to work out when I get home so I can look like him, because I’m not attractive enough the way I am.” Should healthy teen girls see the pencil-thin, large-breasted mannequins in your store windows and think “I need to diet, so I can look like her.” Sir, I understand that these comments were made several years ago, but they are not, and never will be excusable. According to Mr. Jeffries, it is vanilla to alienate people.
Hmmm… I never thought that having a size 12 was alienating? It ever dawned on me that carrying a size 16 is vanilla. Quite frankly, I think it’s pretty damn cotton candy to carry a size 16.
Obesity is a problem in America, but that is an entirely separate issue. However, a size 12 is not overweight, and your size doesn’t even accurately represent obesity. If you have a large chest, or wide hips (both are generally considered desirable traits), then you will probably have to wear a larger size then your A cup friend who is the same height/weight. (I would like to have that problem. Darn.)
Luckily, Jeffries has come under fire for his 7 year-old comments, with Ellen Degeneres devoting a part of her show to mock the brand, 17 year-old Cali Linstrom organizing protests and meeting with Abercrombie executives along with Lynn Greefe and Daryll Roberts, Benjamin O’Keefe creating a Change.org petition which has garnered more than 70,000 signatures, a man buying Abercrombie/Hollister clothes from thrift stores and giving to homeless people, and a blogger gone viral with her set of photos entitled Attractive and Fat challenging Abercrombie.
In conclusion, I hope that Mr. Jeffries looks to change his business strategy, and from what I’ve been reading, the public has been reacting to this in exactly the same way as I did. Mr. Jeffries needs to realize that it’s 2013, not 1953. All sizes are beautiful, and “cool” isn’t defined by being a WASPy suburban mall-rat, it’s defined by much, much more.
They don’t even make nice or attractive clothes, geez.