A&F Controversy

Recently in the news there has been a lot of controversy regarding the practices of clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch, specifically that the brand does not carry sizes XL or XXL for women. In addition, the CEO has gone of record stating “that the brand is absolutely exclusionary and only markets its self to the cool kids”.

Now I apologize that I am going to go on a bit of a rant here, but I do feel like all the media attention around this is a tad silly. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do not agree with the statements that the CEO has made publicly. Firstly, I don’t think that he needed to go as far as actually giving an interview, that being said the article was published in 2006, why is this only becoming a media firestorm now?

In addition, a clothing brand can choose what sizes it chooses to make and stick to those sizes. I haven’t seen brands such as Club Monaco be targeted for not make a shirt above a size L. Plus we don’t complain when high end brands market their apparel to their targeted consumers, i.e. thin people with money who can afford their goods. In the end, if these companies go under for being exclusionary than that’s how the market rolls.. let them. But don’t criticize for having a target market.

Its my opinion that there is a bit of a double standard here,  but if anything its getting people talking about A&F, which could translate into more money for the company. In addition to all the media articles, like this one, videos about the brand have started popping up.

While theoretically, I am siding with A&F on this argument, this video did make me laugh.

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8 thoughts on “A&F Controversy

  1. This interview came to light recently because of the intense scrutiny into the garment industry as to where and how things are made given the Bangladesh incident a few weeks ago.

    I don’t have a problem if a company wants to market to an underweight teenage demographic, but to say you want “beautiful and thin” people wearing your clothes and to associate your clothes with being the “cool kids” is not right. Kids have enough pressure as it is these days and to be labeled an outcast or uncool because you cannot afford or fit into their overpriced clothing is unacceptable. Lots of companies do have target markets, (over 50 group, sports fanactics, young professionals, forever 21’s, rich retirees etc) but I don’t believe a level of attractivness is tied to the brand. If you can afford Coach or Verace, I don’t think it matters what you look like.

    Just my opinion. Love your blog. Keep it coming.

  2. Definitely not advocating the promotion of coolness based on weight. Ideally all ads would feature regular sized people and not those deemed attractive based on a perceived idealistic size.

    Just don’t feel thats its fair to single out A&F for carrying out a practice that other companies also undertake. Definitely don’t agree with the CEO’s comments, I definitely don’t fit his mold of “cool”

  3. Lots of companies use thin, beautful people in their advertisments but don’t actively target this group solely as A&F does. Name me another company that admits to having a target market based on appearance.

  4. I dont think there are other companies that target people based on appearance, I am really not advocating on behalf of A&F based on what they feel people should look like. I just think there are a lot of companies that target based on size. Most high end designers dont carry sizes over a size 10 (which is the same for A&F), even as mentioned above this rings true for Club Monaco.

    Its just how far do we take this, do we start saying that stores that only carry clothing for petite women or big and tall stores for men are exclusionary because they dont carry sizes that appeal to a broader demographic?

    its my opinion that a company chooses a business model that they feel works for them, if its flawed than the market will determine that and they will go under. Its not up to us to criticize their choices.

  5. I don’t think people have a problem with companies that target based on size but the media frenzy is over the controvery of the CEO’s comments,

    ‘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.”

    Jefferies admits that he wants “thin and beautiful” people shopping in his store. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing,”

    So I guess we are on the same page after all. 🙂

    Personally I do not shop in the stores as I cannot stand the dim lighting, loud music and strong perfume scent.

  6. Took me a while to finally find someone who agrees with my position on it, well put Jordan. His comments are unfortunate on a morale standpoint but may in fact price to be a good marketing ploy. Time will tell. I don’t buy their clothing anymore anyway so the point is moot for me.

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