Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm Not Surprised

By now I think that everyone has heard about the comment made by Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries. But in case you've been living under a rock with no WiFi access for the past couple of weeks, I'll summarize it for you. Basically, a seven-year old comment went viral this week in which Jeffries talked about the fact that A&F is a very exclusionary store which caters to a specific type of clientele. He continued to talk about how the clothes are meant for the beautiful, cool kids and that's why the "women's" sizes at A&F only go up to a size 10 in pants and a size large in shirts. Needless to say, people (aka the Internet) are outraged...and I'm a little confused.

I'm not saying that this quote doesn't disgust me. It's a moronic viewpoint that perpetuates too many terrible viewpoints to count. This is the type of mentality that results in kids being bullied for not having a certain brand of clothing and girls having eating disorders to they can look like all the other super cool Barbies in the cafeteria. I think the man is an idiot and should've known better than to actually say that statement in an interview. And the business major in me shakes my head at the huge (no pun intended) chunk of the market that this company is missing out on. After all, it's all about money. However, I just don't get why people are just now realizing that A&F is run by a bunch of douchebags.

First of all, this comment is seven years old. Would we not have been equally outraged seven years ago? I honestly think that the Erin of 2006 would be more pissed than the Erin of 2013, but whatever. I've never been able to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch and I honestly never saw the appeal. Even as a [stupid, image-focused, materialistic] teenager all their crap was way too expensive to waste money on. And then they started blaring all that crappy music and pumping that toxic, bro-tastic "cologne" throughout the store which (to this day) makes me hold my breath if I have to walk by the place. And I'm pretty sure I remember some big to do about their catalogs having nude models. Nude models...to sell clothes.

I've never had the ideal A&F body type; I'm not certain why that's a bigger deal now in 2013 than it was when people my age actually shopped at that store in the early 2000's, but apparently it is. I think I had one A&F shirt that I happened upon in some sort of consignment store and miraculously fit me. Everyone is acting as though every other clothing line in the world is so considerate towards anyone who may be a little overweight, and that is a damn, dirty lie.

Plenty of clothing lines operate under the same philosophy as Abercrombie & Fitch, they've just never come right out and said it. I have a specific memory of being in an Express looking for jeans when I was in high school and being unable to find the size 13/14. I asked a sales girl about it and she told me that there might be some of those sizes somewhere but that the company was only going to go up to size 10/12 now so if I could find any, they'd be old. The Erin of that year was irked; and she may or may not have looked at that girl and said, "Let me get this straight. I keep hearing about how America is becoming more and more obese and you people are getting rid of our clothes?"

I'm not defending what Mike Jeffries says or does. I'm just saying that I don't understand why anyone is surprised. I'm fairly certain that anyone who would be offended enough by the his comments to stop shopping there, is already not shopping at A&F. If you're going to boycott A&F for their marketing techniques, you'd better be ready to boycott a lot of other stores too because Abercrombie is not alone.

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