Abercrombie and Fitch never wanted overweight people to wear their clothing. It was not meant for us. I know this because when I was younger I could not fit into their shirts or pants. It was then confirmed by their CEO Mike Jeffries.
It was meant for the cool kids. The popular kids. Of course, that does not include overweight people. Because how could a fat kid be cool and popular?
“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 [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.”
Their stock is down 25% this year and they have been down for seven straight quarters. Their clothing has not been relevant to kids in quite a while.
But they have decided to change! They have decided that us “fat uncool” kids can finally wear their clothing. That is right, they have made the decision to make larger sizes of their clothing. HOORAY! Do you know how many of us “fat uncool” kids have longed to wear Abercrombie clothing? I mean, they even made a hit song with girls wearing Abercrombie and Fitch called “Summer Girls”… of course, the song was written sixteen years ago… when their clothing was actually cool.
But the best part of this, that very few people caught, is that they are only going to sell the “plus” size clothing (which they deem over a size 10 for women) online. Not at the stores. Apparently, Abercrombie has standards. The “fat uncool” women cannot go into the stores. They can shop online where they belong.
Because as Mike Jeffries has said before…
“We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
But now they do. Because they have realized that there are a lot of “fat uncool” people out there. Lululemon has realized it also. Many companies realize it after the controversy of their fat-shaming hurts their bottom line. These companies are calling people fat when they are not fat. Is wearing a size 12 fat? No. Many women run marathons who wear a size 12. Many women workout six days a week and eat clean and wear a size 12. Many women do Crossfit and wear a size 12. In my eyes, size 12 is not plus size; it’s average.
I was a “fat uncool” kid who wanted to fit in. I distinctly remember not being able to fit into Abercrombie. Yet I could wear Polo, Hilfiger, Nike, Reebok, Fila and nine million other brands of clothing. These are companies that are still successful today.
Abercrombie is desperate. I liked them better when they hated us. I will always be a “fat uncool” kid at heart. It does not go away.
They told us we were not part of their club. They told us we were not meant for their clothing. They told us we were not hip enough, good enough or attractive enough to wear their clothing.
But sales are down. So now they want us. They need us “fat uncool” people to buy their clothing. They need us to buy it for our kids; the kids today who laugh when their parents say anything is cool.
Abercrombie fired a woman for wearing a head scarf in observation of her religion. She was not fat, just “uncool” in their eyes. The clearly do not understand people. They do not understand diversity. But, they understand that they are losing money, and they should. That’s what matters to them. I am tired of CEO’s giving “non-apology” answers for comments they made from the heart. They know who they are hurting.
So now with sales declining, Abercrombie is now allowing us fat people to purchase their clothing online.
Honestly, I have been able to wear Abercrombie clothing for years.
But in honor of all my “fat uncool” friends, and because I am still a “fat uncool” person, I will always refuse.
I would rather wear dignity any day of the week.