If you’re digitally connected at all, chances are you’ve seen the articles flying past screaming in outrage about Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries comments regarding the brand’s target market.
In case you’ve been under a rock, in a nutshell Jeffries interview with Salon from 2006 is being rehashed and the shock value is large. His controversial statements are ruffling feathers once again:
“That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores,” Jeffries said. “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.” He went on: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. 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.”
Can you see why folks are aghast? In a culture where we openly accept the motto “The customer is always right”, Jeffries egregious statements go against the grain and the public cries out in horror.
Thanks to Abercrombie & Fitch
From my vantage point there’s nothing shocking in that statement, other than a brand laying it all out for everyone to see. Given 5 minutes to sit with this Jeffries I’d simply thank him for allowing me to see the character that Abercrombie & Fitch lacks.
This interview could be seen as irrelevant for this size 12 girl because there simply aren’t any clothes within their store which fit my curvy frame. Well, unless you consider the fact that I have children who are in the size range of their lines and a husband who would qualify.
I may take the opportunity to point out to Jeffries the number of households whose clothing shopping is done by a woman over their top end size 10.
I seriously doubt whether the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch overlooked the possibility that they are alienating a large segment of the population, in fact Jeffries openly states this is their goal. They’ve made a conscious decision to target a certain demographic and have moved forward wearing their elitist blinders.
I bow to the utter ego of it and happily move away from this brand, thankful that they are open about their disgusting view of the world’s population.
I sincerely hope nobody thinks Abercrombie & Fitch are alone in this elitist outlook, while many brands have a narrow demographic it’s rare they’ll speak openly about their attempts at exclusion. We see it in the ads, the store employees and yes in the sizing.
Choose The Brands You Dig Wisely
Ultimately it’s our choice where we shop and how much homework we do. Why not be open about your choices in customers (even if you are making some really asinine choices) if people are still shopping at your stores obviously they appeal to the right market.
Researching a brand isn’t difficult, by simply taking a look at their Twitter, Facebook or other online feeds you will easily see if they’re actually interacting with customers. Follow that by Googling the brand and have a look at their corporate policies and heck why not look into past interviews which have created controversy perhaps?
If The Clothes Fit
As a multi-billion dollar entity, Abercrombie & Fitch is projected to be expanding in Asia and Europe while closing stores in the US. Me thinks they will stay true to brand, the question becomes will YOU shop there or with other brands who openly alienate people.
Thankfully I’ve grown up and no longer chase that dream of fitting into the “cool” crowd and I can assure you my children won’t have the experience of wearing Abercrombie & Fitch anytime soon and I’ll be happy to tell them why.
So yes I thank Abercrombie & Fitch for being open, it’s refreshing to see a company who is willing to show its audacity upfront so I can avoid shopping there.
In closing I have to mention the song “Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson is stuck in my head. I won’t post a link nor all of the lyrics because of the profanity but the chorus will give you the drift:
Hey you, what do you see?
Something beautiful, something free?
Hey you, are you trying to be mean?
If you live with apes man, it’s hard to be clean