Elitism and teen’s clothing
An elitist philosophy where fashion retailers are the judge of what makes someone “cool” or “beautiful” seems to be prevalent for high end and luxury retailers like Prada and Abercrombie and Fitch. Prada was sued in 2010 by an ex-employee for wrongful termination and discrimination for being “ugly”. Now, Abercrombie and Fitch is making headlines after the resurfacing of a report by Business Insider detailing a 2006 interview with the CEO Mike Jeffries.
In the Salon interview in 2006, Mike Jeffries makes no excuses regarding A&F’s stance on fashion and beauty. “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. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
This insane superiority and judgmental attitude is simply one more shining example of the daily prejudices and discriminations inherent within the fashion world. Is it any wonder, with such messaging from leading brands like A&F, that there is bullying in schools or that children have self-esteem issues?
#FitchTheHomeless film goes viral
Los Angeles resident and film maker, Greg Karber, decided to take matters into his own hands to counter the retailer’s message. To do so, he created the Twitter hash tag #fitchthehomeless and is encouraging others to give their Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to the homeless. On May 13, 2013, Greg Karber took to Youtube with a video (below) blasting the brand for its discriminating practices. In the video Karber encourages others to join in and make Abercrombie & Fitch “the world’s number one brand of homeless apparel”.
Not A&F’s first bad pr rodeo
This certainly isn’t the first time A&F has been in the media headlines for its retail business practices. In 2003 the retailer was blasted for its A&F Quarterly magazine depicting naked teenagers and promoting group sex, sparking protests. In addition, A&F’s embattled CEO has faced numerous discrimination lawsuits, including a $2.2 million settlement over dress code practices in 2003, a $50 million discrimination lawsuit Gonzalez vs Abercrombie & Fitch that settled in 2005 and an ongoing age discrimination lawsuit in 2012 by A&F’s former jet pilot.
Abercrombie & Fitch was also listed on the “Sweat Shop Hall of Fame in 2010” by the International Labor Rights Forum “for evading fair labor standards and often are slow to respond or provide no response at all to any attempts by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), workers, or others to improve working conditions” in their global production practices.