After years of discriminating against the overweight, minorities, and basically anyone who is not gorgeous, blonde, and vacuous, Abercrombie & Fitch is about to roll out plus-sizes of its purposely tattered clothing. This is news because they refused to do so previously, reasoning that they didn’t see themselves as a brand for fat and/or ugly people.
In the last couple of decades, Abercrombie & Fitch really outdid itself by shifting its original proficiency of providing late 19th century gentlemen with fishing and hunting gear, turning itself into the outfitter for the all-American douchebag. CEO Mike Jeffries is a senior citizen who, for a long time, openly wanted his brand to delineate the border between the cool, attractive white kids, and every other miscellaneous teenager. Time and time again, the company has faced accusations and lawsuits for discriminating against employment applicants based on race, having incredibly racist and misogynistic T-shirt designs, using unjust labor practices to manufacture their clothes, forcing employees to buy their overpriced clothes, and even not letting a girl help her autistic sister try on clothes in the fitting room. Wow. A lot of that is far beyond ruthless business practice and begins to border on eugenics.
In 2006, at the height of A&F’s success, Jeffries insisted that inclusivity was a mistake his brand would never make. The statement below, from a very ill Salon.com article, resurfaced this past summer when Kirstie Alley, Ellen Degeneres, and blogger Jes Baker brought attention to A&F’s dickishly exclusive brand attitude.
“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.”
Well, fuckface, guess what? Your logic has stopped working. A&F sales have fallen for seven quarters in a row and the company has lost about 30% of its value, according to NBC News. The brand is scrambling after losing the interest of their douchy core, which has since set its eyes on a plethora of trendier brands. Like the rich girl slumming it for a night, Jeffries must now court a demographic he purposefully and systematically alienated back when A&F was still cool.
And that’s the beautiful thing about this. Like the popular, jocky high school kids that made A&F a success, the brand lived like there was no tomorrow during their fleeting halcyon days, scorning those who weren’t as cool, not realizing that one day high school would be over and reality would smack it in the face like a ton of bricks. At some point in the last six months, Abercrombie & Fitch looked at its own gorgeous face in the mirror, shed one tear, and spoke its epiphany: “You’re not special.” Perhaps one day it will successfully find his first real friends in all the fat kids it used to bully, but secretly we just want it to get drunk on its dad’s whiskey and drive his Range Rover off a cliff.
Here are some less douchey t-shirts for you.