What comes to mind when you think of Abercrombie & Fitch? The All-American teenager, a moose? Or do you think of dark labyrinths filed with intoxicating odor? Whatever may come to mind, you are familiar with the brand. Abercrombie and Fitch represents the “American” college student. The brand, started in 1892, is geared towards 18-22 year olds and is considered one of the most popular American lifestyle brands along with Hollister (owned by Abercrombie), American Eagle (A&F biggest competition), and Ralph Lauren (not even on the same level). Something that everyone can agree with is that their clothing doesn’t fit the typical person. In their over 1000 stores (and dwindling), a medium t-shirt is more like a small, forcing even the most fit to go up a size or two, but this has all changed! Abercrombie & Fitch is to include plus sizes in order to attract a new crowd. Now wait, this is the same store that prides itself on having half naked models gracing the store walls? Yes!
Earlier in November A&F declared that it would start selling plus size clothing for the first time in order to attract new customers. Coming from someone who is considered “plus size” by their company’s standards and a medium at every other store, I wonder how an “American” brand has not realized that we live in a plus size country. How come now, after 111 years, the company decides to include clothes for the everyday American?- Business. Abercrombie and Fitch’s sales have been on a downward spiral over the past couple years as their share prices also drop considerably.
This should come as no surprise. In 2006 the now 69 year old CEO, Mike Jeffries, made it very clear to Salon Magazine who the target audience of A&F was. This interview, that went viral in 2013, explains why Mr. Jeffries’ company does not make clothing larger than size 10 for women. Mr. Jeffries stated that Abercrombie “hires good-looking people in [their] stores because good-looking people attract other good-looking people,” do you own a mirror Mr. Jeffries? “In every school there are the cool 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” because the Nigerian kid with a great attitude and lots of friends just doesn’t cut it, nor does the popular and extremely social Latina because she is curvy.
What does “American” mean? Let stop trying to claim that American is light skin, blue eyes, and blond hair. The original American, the natives, was nothing of the sort and the current Americans aren’t either. We live in a society were being “American” has become a coveted title that is used more often to separate and discriminate than to unite with no real understanding of what the word means. Simply adding “plus size” clothing will not solve the problem of Abercrombie. Yes, it will soften the decline of the company, but unless a significant change is made and the CEO reevaluates the definition of American to include ALL Americans, Abercrombie and Fitch will fade away. I am sure that our lungs will not mind it though.
-Jonathan Dromgoole, Fashion Editor
-“Fitch Please”- Ellen Degeneres
– Quotes from http://www.vogue.co.uk/news