Notes on Abercrombie and Fitch (Mike Jeffries, you've just gone and done the dumbest thing) #EpicFail

So let's talk about Abercrombie and Fitch.

Last week, comments made by the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, Mike Jeffries, in an interview by Benoit Dezinet for the Salon magazine in 2006 went viral. 

“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 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"

The first time I heard about this, I thought to myself, "He's just gone and done the dumbest thing!"..."#EPICFAIL"

I think in hashtags now. How on trend is that?

The problem here isn't that the brand is exclusionary. Everybody knows that the brand is exclusionary. It is impossible to not know that the brand is exclusionary. I have only ever been to one Abercrombie and Fitch store, it was crowded, the music was loud, it was dark, and it reeked of perfume. There was so much going on that I didn't notice that all the employees in the store were ridiculously good looking. I can't tell you that they were, but that's a safe assumption to make. They always are, aren't they? It isn't surprising that I didn't buy anything from the store. In fact, I have never bought anything from an Abercrombie and fitch store. It was clear to me then as it is now, that the Abercrombie shopping experience isn't for everyone. However, I was unperturbed by this slight set back so I sent my parents to do my A&F shopping for me. Things were better that way. Mama Afam, would leave the A&F store assured that she had done right by me, and I would delight in the fact that I owned something I thought was cool, without having to pay for it. 

And the clothes are cool. Let's not be twats about it. They're well made, they look good, they age well and they feel good. They are also not for everyone. They've honed in on the 18-24 year old muscular, athletic, flip flop wearing and good looking men of the world with an aggression that is astounding. Jeffries says they only hire good looking people, "because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't want to market to anyone other than that." But we all knew this already. We've always known this. This is the underlying thought behind most brands. Everyone on some level wants to be hip, cool, trendy and stylish, so brands try to tell you that they are, or that at the very least they'll help you get there. The key thing here is that it is widely known but never said. To say it is taboo. We must be completely accepting of everything in public and extremely calculated in private. The thing that's most interesting about it, is that the brands themselves are the both at the helm of things and at the receiving end of things.

it's something like this. If you do not understand the doodle, then skip ahead. They're the doodles of a madman. It would be surprising if you found them comprehensible. The doodles of a madman seems like a good blog title. I'm going to wordpress to save it. 
When they declare something awesome, we absorb it, then we think about it, then we come to see it as common sense, then we tell them that it's awesome and they make more of it. It doesn't work everytime, but when it does, you've got a branding phenomenon.

Jeffries' comments have inspired a public attempt to make Abercrombie and Fitch the number one brand of Homeless apparel.

The first people to do this were the creators of the blog Abercrombie Popular.

They started their campaign on the 11th of May. I quite like this actually. He styles that t shirt out. I don't know that a t-shirt with Abercrombie and Fitch written across it has ever looked so good. I don't know that the accessories will look good on me but I want! I want! For more pictures go to

They were closely followed by Greg Karber, who made this very catchy video below.

The video has since gone viral.

I'm conflicted about this. Fitching the homeless would belittle the reasons for my charity. If anything it's selfish, because it's become less about your need to cater to the needy, and more about your need to dissociate yourself from a brand that you no longer agree with. If you are in a position to give, then you should give unreservedly. You shouldn't turn your charity into a weapon to punish someone else, the very idea of it is wrong.

At the same time, I do not want to be associated with a brand that's seen as douchey. It's okay when people speculate about the douchiness of a brand but it isn't okay when the CEO comes out and proclaims its douchiness. So I think I'll leave my Abercrombie and Fitch clothes in my closet until I can no longer wear them. Hopefully when that time comes my charity won't coincide with a war against the brand.

Happy Days,

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