“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.”
– Mike Jeffries
By now it has made the round that Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries has stated that he doesn’t want “fat” people wearing his clothes. One thing that is crazy is these comments came in 2006. Seven years have passed and now since there isn’t much to focus on someone somewhere has taken issue with such a notion. The sad cold truth is “every” company that caters to the public has a target audience. I’m sure the men of FUBU and Karl Kani never expected white kids from the suburbs to wear their clothes. Of course those in the urban fashion world you don’t hear that kind of talk but the fact that the target consumers are African Americans comes through in the ads. Most ads show slim “cool kids”, the difference is some a good portion of stores as well as designers do have some plus size clothes.
So why is Jeffries drawing heat, because he said what many people would love to say? I get that how it was said was wrong but again the average phone commercial is trying to attract cool people who can afford those phones. You’ll never see some overweight trailer trash or project chick or some low wage blue collar guy in a Samsung Galaxy, Iphone or Ipod commercial. Image is everything and we as people want to be part of that in crowd. What you have with Abercrombie & Fitch is the bold truth that it is an exclusive club. What does that do for Abercrombie & Fitch? Nothing at all, I’m sure plus size people have went in to an Abercrombie & Fitch store saw there were no sizes for them and moved on to another store and got something just as good. I mean I’ve seen Abercrombie & Fitch clothes and it looks no different than what American Eagle or The Gap offers to me. If anything Jeffries is and has been like any clothing company over exaggerating the importance of his clothing company. There are places in this country where the store isn’t around the cool kids in those cites and towns aren’t less cool. If the hottest pop stars came out and said they’ve never worn anything by Abercrombie & Fitch the brand nor the stars credibility would be damaged. Abercrombie & Fitch is no better than Nike, some people will forever be Nike people but it doesn’t mean Reebok is hurting or that those who don’t wear Nike aren’t cool. Tommy Hilfiger got caught out there on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and his brand was still doing fine. There lies the lesson, ptople who are loyal to your brand won’t leave because of your CEO statements.
I’m not defending the comments mind you, i’m just saying this outrage will blow over and it will be business as usual.