Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries recently received some backlash for controversial statements made while discussing the characteristics of his ideal customers. In a nutshell, bro doesn’t want any “fatties” or “uglies” to don the surfer/beach bum-inspired apparel; A&F is meant to cater to the beautiful people that walk through the store’s doors (and toxic wave of cologne). After all, according to Jeffries, “… 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.”
The only A&F clothing I own I bought secondhand from a thrift shop. Macklemore would be so proud. It’s not because I’m too cool to shop retail or anything like that, or even because I find myself offended by Jeffries’ above comment; I’m just a cheap shopper, always have been. I never really got why people are so drawn to A&F, Hollister, American Eagle, etc. I get that the clothes are expensive since they basically last forever, but do I really want to wear the same blue Henley for the rest of my life?
But I guess now I have another reason to avoid Abercrombie. Or should I say ABSercrombie? I don’t even understand the advertisement strategy…if you sell apparel, why not advertise it? Save the abs for a gym membership ad. No point in marketing jeans on an ad space that shows 10% denim and 90% flesh.
Jeffries says, “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.”
I understand various clothing companies being exclusionary when it comes to scoping out “top-quality” models to show off their apparel, while ignoring the plus-sized demographic. As bad as it sounds, that’s understandable. I’m more likely to invest in a pair of kicks modeled by a stick-thin chick than the alternative, although yes, I definitely identify more with the plus-sized girl in terms of body type. Carl’s Jr. does the same thing in their commercials, if you think about it. What hot blonde model eats a burger? Perish the thought! But customers are probably going to be less inclined to purchase a whopper when shown the actual demographic that frequents Carl’s Jr.
In answer to who A&F’s target customers are, Jeffries responded, “Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they’re about to jump on a surfboard.”
I mean, I see his point, but business is business, no matter how unattractive the person wearing the A&F logo may be. And I’m pretty sure as the CEO of A&F, money isn’t exactly an issue for Jeffries, lucky guy. So why is he Fitchin’ about it?
Don’t get me wrong. I cringe internally when I see old ladies in tube tops and plastic heels, or overweight men in great need of a full body wax donning European swimwear, or my classmates repping the awful combination of socks and Crocs. My eyes might be bleeding, but hey, it’s a free country…
…Except when you’re in Jeffries’ territory. When it comes to companies mandating who can or cannot wear your brands – aw, HELLZ no. What you wear is up to you, unless you have to abide by a dress code, of course. If you want to rock the streetwalker look tonight, that’s fine by me – I mean, it’s not affecting me, so whatever. Want to wear your “Free Hugs” tee to the first family reunion you’ve been to in ten years? Cool. Hope you’re not a germaphobe.
Personally (as if this whole post isn’t personal already), I think Mr. Jeffries should be FLATTERED that people – washboard abs or not – are still willing to put in 90 bucks for one of his moose-emblazoned sweaters, despite his asinine comments.
This isn’t a campaign to get everyone all riled up to stand outside Jeffries’ doorstep and pour red paint (although a vat of A&F cologne would be more appropriate) on the man. I don’t have anything against anyone who chooses to wear the brand. Nor am I going to create a let’s-all-donate-our-Abercrombie-stuff-to-the-less-fortunate event on Facebook. I’m in no position to declare what you should or shouldn’t wear.
Which is my entire point. The government, schools, churches, and businesses already give us more than enough rules to abide by. Leave our closets alone, Jeffries.