Dear Abercrombie & Fitch: We Never Loved You Anyway
Did you know that if you look directly in the eyes of an Abercrombie & Fitch model you immediately gain 10 pounds? Or that if you wear the same perfume as the most popular girl in school it chemically changes to the smell of shame? OK none of that’s necessarily true, but it hits on that feeling you get when you waltz into an A&F store looking for a size 12 pair of jeans and waddle out, empty handed, with your fat tail between your legs. We don’t hate Abercrombie. We’re just done with weirdo elitist attitudes about weight and fashion. We just found out that the shiny happy faces at Abercrombie don’t offer women sizes beyond a large or pants/skirts beyond a 10, and we’re not pleased. Why would they cut out a large percentage of the population and possible customer base? Well, according to their CEO, this is because they want their brand to be “cool” and looking “cool” means only skinny people wearing your clothes. Sigh. So has this strategy worked? Fat chance. According to the market, teens are running away from the carefully distressed skinny jeans en masse.
Ashley Lutz at Business Insider had a few words to say about Abercrombie’s business policies when it comes to our plus-sized sisters. Oh, and why did we only say "sisters," you ask? Because Abercrombie offers larger sizes for their mens line. Ha! That’s right. Guys get larger sizes—mens XL and XXL sizes are as all-American as a football rally—but not the ladies. That makes sense! Here’s what Lutz had to say:
It’s not surprising that Abercrombie excludes plus-sized women considering the attitude of CEO Mike Jeffries, said Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail and CEO of newsletter The Robin Report.
“He doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis told Business Insider. “He doesn't want his core customers to see people who aren't as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.'”
The only reason Abercrombie offers XL and XXL men’s sizes is probably to appeal to beefy football players and wrestlers, Lewis said.
Abercrombie officials had absolutely nada to say about Lutz’s story, but if you’re wondering what kinda guy CEO Jeffries is, here are some old quotes summing up his views on the brand and the type of people worthy to wear the clothes:
“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,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries also told Salon that he wasn't bothered by excluding some customers.
“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.”
Chill vibe man.
What makes this into a happy geese-learning-to-fly-type tale is that American teens have ditched the brand in favor of cheaper, less discriminatory, and dare we say it funner brands like Forever 21 and H&M, that offer notably less preppy styles in a variety of sizes. Abercrombie stocks are DOWN, yo!
What do you think about Captain Preppy of the Clothing Store Kings?