Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Take Your Brand And Shove It

Over the past few days, statements made by the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch have gone viral. Statements that are not only judgmental, hurtful and segregating, but also incredibly telling of the world we live in. If you haven't seen the statements I'm referring to, I urge you to read them. (I also feel the need to add my usual "settle in for a long post" disclaimer...)

Essentially, A&F's CEO doesn't like "large" people. (Read: FAT.) He doesn't want them wearing his clothes. Or shopping in his store. Because his store is only for "cool kids". And the only reason they provide sizes XL and XXL for men, is for the "larger, athletic types".

Naturally, I was repulsed by his statements. Not only because I am "large", but because I am a human being. And I take issue with so many things about this situation that I am having a hard time even separating my thoughts into comprehensible sentences - but, that's never stopped me before.

"He wants thin and beautiful people." 

Guess what - I used to be called "thin and beautiful". And I used to shop at A&F. One Christmas, when I was 16, I got basically an entire, new wardrobe from that store. And now, I'm disgusted that my generous parents ever gave money to such a terrible person. NOT TO MENTION, who decided that only "thin" equals "beautiful"?! That just could not be farther from the truth. Forgive me for sounding so cliche but beauty truly does come in every shape and size.

Even when I could have been classified as "thin and beautiful" as a high schooler, A&F clothes never fit me right. I'm tall. They did not make clothes that were tall-girl-friendly. So, even though I could wear their sizes, they were always too short for me. Case in point is the picture below, taken on the above mentioned Christmas morning when I tried on all my new clothes, only to find that most of them made me look like I was wearing child-sized items.

That was not intended to be a 3/4 sleeve shirt...

Over the next couple of years, my natural curves started to fill in. I didn't have a problem with it until I realized that some of the super trendy stores no longer carried sizes for me. A&F was the worst of all. By 18, I was at my peak height of 5'10 and wore a size 10. I was active and fit and still "thin" by most people's standards. (Except mine back then, but that's another post all together.)  But, even though A&F carried jeans that were marked as size 10 - they weren't. I could pull a size 10 off the shelf of any store and it fit like a dream - expect A&F. In their dressing room, I would jump up and down trying to shimmy into those ridiculous, over-priced jeans, to no avail. Back then, though, at least they carried XL shirts, which I was forced to buy - like in the picture below. (I wore a Medium everywhere else.) To me, the message was clear even then without coming right out and saying it - this store is not for you, Big Girl.

Size 10. Too "Fat" for Abercrombie & Fitch.

“Candidly, we go after the cool kids."

Even beyond the hatred of "large" people, its the exclusivity that A&F clothes are only for "the cool kids" that really makes my blood boil. As if times aren't tough enough for kids - with bullying at complete epidemic levels - we now have the CEO of one of the most popular brands for kids further exacerbating the problem. Telling a generation, a generation with serious self-esteem issues, that these clothes aren't for you if you are a mathlete, or play the french horn, or join the show choir. Those are the cool kids, if you ask me. The kids who aren't afraid to be themselves. In middle school, I stopped hanging out with the "popular group" because they were mean to everyone else, and it was a giant, earth moving thing to me. I basically lost 80% of my "friends". I came home crying one day that my life was over because I'd never be "popular" again. My Mom told me that a true sign of popularity was to have friends in every circle - to have LOTS of friends - not just one elite group. You should listen to my Mom, Mr. CEO.

But, since all you seem to care about is what makes someone "cool" and physically attractive (BY YOUR CONTORTED STANDARDS), you can take your brand and shove it.


  1. Yes ma'am! I couldn't have said it better.

  2. Amen! I couldn't agree with you more. I've never shopped at A & F because I've always had curves, even as a size 2. It's just really sad.

  3. Well said, Rach! Love this post and your throwback pics. I, too, spent money at that store and am disappointed they received anything from me!

  4. Eep! I thought I had commented on this previously when I read it. I originally meant to tell you that "You should listen to my Mom, Mr. CEO," was the best line ever. This guy is clearly over-compensating for some *serious* inferiority issues (I mean, have you seen the guy? I don't think he could handle any more plastic surgery or his face might implode) and I feel sorry for anyone who leads a life so miserable that they have to harbor that kind of hate in the name of being "the cool kid" -- someone needs to remind him that this isn't high school and that we won't tolerate that shit.