Wednesday, May 22, 2013

abercrombie & bitch: a tough-love open letter

Dear Abercrombie & Fitch Co., (For those of you who don't know, that refers to the teen clothing brands Abercrombie, Hollister, Gilly Hicks, and the Abercrombie offshoot abercrombie kids)  You need to get yourself together. Recently, you've been making a series of completely avoidable missteps that make most of us consumers go:


Now, shall we take a walk down memory lane?

First, there was that time you manufactured these completely unfunny T-shirts that stereotype Asians. As if that wasn't enough, you thought up innuendo-emblazoned thongs for your kids line. And how could I forget the oh-so-tasteful misogynist t-shirts with slogans on the chest like "Who needs brains when you have these?" (YOU need brains, Abercrombie. You really, really do.)
Then, there's your infamous CEO, Mike Jeffries, who I can only describe as standing on the fine line between complete douche and just plain creepy. He has OCD-esque rules for his male-model flight attendents, and says he wants his stores (who market to children as young as 7) to "sizzle with sex". 

...cough *pervert!* cough

Also, the most recent controversy surrounding you is nothing but utter rudeness on his part: In a 2006 interview, when asked why Abercrombie does not make larger sizes (defined as an XL or XXL), he says,

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. 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, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny.”

You probably don't need me to tell you this, but this statement is morally wrong on so may levels... first, there's an obvious, jarring superficiality. Also, there's the fact that it sounds so mean-spirited and cruel. And one last piece of advice: It's incredibly difficult to take a 68-year-old businessman seriously if he says "totally vanilla", "dude", and "old fart".

So, with your best interests at heart, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: 21st century teen girls are more powerful than you think, and even more powerful that we think.
We're intelligent, informed, and sensible, a dangerous combination. We can make or break you, and you'd rather alienate us than try to be kind, just for the sake of your own image?
Overall, I just wanted to inform you that this sexist, sizeist attitude isn't doing you any favors. In fact, while I was *Googling* Abercrombie, I was a little delighted to see this:

(Edit, 9/10/13: in the spirit of full disclosure... the picture that was originally up got mysteriously deleted, and I can't actually find the article I got it from, (?!) so I replaced one of a much more current article: written 8/22/13. Glad to see Abercrombie's still floundering :)

Oh, what were you saying about "companies in trouble" again? Tut tut, Abercrombie.
-Sincerely, Ella


  1. Oh my God, Mike Jeffries is such a dick. I shopped at Hollister quite a lot when I was twelve but now I just think all their clothes are tacky and ill fitting. Somebody needs to slap this guy. Or take all his money. Or assassinate him. I live in England so was not aware of all the things you mentioned in this post until now. I think that it is safe to say that I will NOT be shopping at any Abercrombie&Fitch Co. shops anymore which might actually please Jeffries because I'm not on of those 'cool and popular kids' he wants to market his clothes towards.

  2. OK, I'm following your blog for 2 reasons:
    1) We have the same name = instant awesomeness!
    2) You are amazing. And this post is amazing. And your new blog is amazing.
    Ella x

  3. Being British, I had no idea about half of this as it's only if you go to a big shopping centre or London that you find the shops but...woah?! What an idiot.

  4. Oh wow I love this! I hate these kind of clothing brands (we have Jack Wills and Hollister in the UK) that have this snobby air of exclusivity, when actually their products are just overpriced and often politically incorrect.