By Rachel Birdsell
If you’ve ever wandered into the dimly lit wasteland of Abercrombie & Fitch where mannequins are layered in 14 shirts with popped collars, and cologne is piped in through the sound system, you know that no matter how much you dig through a pile of t-shirts, you won’t find one in any size past large. Well, if you’re a guy you can, because in A&F land, extra large guys are like way cool, bro, but extra large girls aren’t.
Recently, a 2006 interview on news website Salon with the CEO of Abercrombie, Mike Jeffries, resurfaced and the internet has exploded with vitriol that is aimed directly at Jeffries’ giant head. In the interview, he talked about how A&F was for the cool, attractive, thin kids and how exclusionary the brand is. Jeffries saying that only attractive people should be wearing A&F is irony at its finest because this man is unmistakably homely. He looks like the twin brother of Jocelyn Wildenstein, the woman who had plastic surgery so she could look like a cat, but instead of looking like a cat, ended up looking like her plastic surgeon performed all of her surgeries during a blackout.
An A&F District Manager upped the company’s douche factor when he stated that rather than donate unsold or damaged clothing to homeless shelters, A&F chooses to burn the clothes because, “Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t want to create the image that just anybody, poor people, can wear their clothing. Only people of a certain stature are able to purchase and wear the company name.”
LA writer, Greg Karber has started a campaign to fight against A&F’s vision of only pretty, non-poor people wearing their clothes. Greg went into a local thrift shop and bought all of the A&F clothing he could, then went down to Skid Row and handed out the clothing to the homeless. Greg is encouraging everyone across the country to do the same. Just think, we could have the homeless from coast to coast modeling their new Abercrombie duds while simultaneously making Jeffries’ head pop along with his 14 collars.
Abercrombie & Fitch has every right to be a giant a-hole of a company. If they only want pretty, thin, popular, non-poor people wearing their clothes I have no problem with them spending their advertising dollars to buy air time that is sandwiched between Axe Body Spray and Jagermeister commercials. But, the flip side of my magnanimous nature regarding capitalism is that we consumers who don’t appreciate when a company and its CEO are jerks can give them the finger, figuratively or literally. In Jeffries’ case, I think he’s highly deserving of both.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.