Thursday, May 9, 2013

Abercrombie & Fitch Fiasco


Background: there's been a media and facebook storm about Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries saying that they market toward attractive people and thus do not make sizes for people who are overweight. Jeffries is quoted as followed:

"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. 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."

Let me say that I find this sentiment and strategy awful. But it's not surprising and I wouldn't be shocked to find this sort of mindset widespread in retail. Furthermore, it doesn't bother me at all that a company would focus on clothes tailor-made for thin people. Though Jeffries' reasons are offensive, specializing in clothing for small/thin people is not.

I am thin. Though the trend is changing as I near thirty, I have always had problem keeping weight on. Go for a week vacation in S. America or live (and eat) with a person on a diet and I dip below a healthy weight. I'm pleased that I've been able to put on more muscle lately but that hasn't been easy until recently. 

Because of my height and weight, I have to special order all my shirts online. Standard larges make me look like a dirigible and standard mediums show off my stomach if I raise my arms. Clothing simply isn't tailored to my body type. Large t-shirts from Faroe fit well; the population is generally thinner. But I have an awful time of it in the United States. 

It makes sense to me that a store would focus its efforts on making excellent clothing for a certain body type. Doing so is a common strategy. Lane Bryant - a plus sized women's store - doesn't sell sizes smaller than 14. No-one is protesting them or threatening boycott because they discriminate against the petite. If it's okay for Lane Bryant to make excellent clothes designed for a target body type, it isn't so strange that Abercrombie & Fitch do the same. It would be nice though if they had better motives for doing so.


1 comment:

  1. Well said. Nobody gets mad at Mercedes for not making at $14,000 car.

    ReplyDelete

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