“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. We go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive All-American kids 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.”
This statement has been doing the rounds on social media. Abercrombie & Fitch, the designer fashion brand CEO Michael Jeffries has gone on record for refusing to do XL sizes for women saying his clothes are only for the “cool kids” and he seems proud to discriminate against people whodon’t fit his clothing range’s perceived ideals.
The retail stores reflects the sentiment of Jeffries’ comments, only employing the body beautiful staff to represent the Abercrombie brand. In addition, returned imperfect or slightly damaged stock are burned rather than being donated to the homeless and needy.
The outrage this statement has generated has inspired a campaign named #FitchtheHomeless. An enterprising chap, Greg Karber, in LA went to as many thrift shops as he could to buy second-hand Abercombie & Fitch clothes, and then went to Skid Row in down town LA to distribute to the homeless. He’s starting a campaign to get everyone with unwanted Abercrombie & Fitch branded clothes to donate them to the homeless and needy. (Check out his YouTube vid.)
If you’re offended by the Jeffries’ statement, or by the “cool kids only” attitude of the brand, following Karber’s lead is a productive solution. Instead of bad-mouthing the company on Facebook or griping to your friends about this perceived elitism, take some action that will actually benefit people. Boycotts won’t work — the only people who would boycott are not likely customers of the brand anyway. But by distributing used clothing to the homeless, you’re accomplishing two goals at once. You’re voicing your disagreement with A&F’s policy, and you’re taking positive steps to improve the lives of those who maybe could use a little more “fashion” in their lives.
Who said activism couldn’t be stylish?
JONATHAN WELFORD heads up GayDatingExpert.com, a relationship and dating coaching practice. He was awarded the accolade of being one of the top 10 Gay Relationship Bloggers for 2013. He writes gay advice columns for numerous publications in both the UK and USA, and is also a regular columnist for DatingAdvice.com. He lives with his Scottish husband in Manchester, UK.