Abercrombie and Fitch are no strangers to controversy. In 2004 they lost 40 million dollars in a class action lawsuit because they discriminated against racial minorities.
Now, CEO Mr. Jeffries has found a different target – a target that is not protected by laws. His target is overweight people.
This statement from Business Insider about the marketing strategy of A&F should clear it up nicely:
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis told Business Insider. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.'”
So, here is my open letter to Mr. Jeffries in response to the business insider article, and an older Salon article.
I learned something in high school about the cool kids. I learned that when the “cool kids” bullied other kids then it was simply because they felt insecure, and needed to find a way to feel better about themselves. I started to see the bullies as deeply sad people. Their attitudes were shallow, and their friendships not durable. At root they were simply lonely insecure people.
In today’s world the high school bullies have turned into adult bullies who frequently deals with their own insecurity by discriminating against others. The US have tried to deal with this through laws, and in 2004 you had to realize that discriminating against minority people based on their looks costs you some dollars. But, unfortunately your insecurities were so strong that you had to find a different outlet for your needs to dehumanize others so you could feel better about yourself. Overweight people are not protected by any laws so they were an easy target for you.
I want to be one to stand up and say this loud and clear: Discrimination is WRONG. It does not matter who you discriminate against or why you discriminate, it is WRONG. Discrimination is cruel and completely unnecessary. Only shallow, pathetic people discriminate.
Mr. Jeffries, you are building a brand for shallow, pathetic and insecure people. You are trying to capitalize on this by appealing to younger people who might not have lived long enough to see just how toxic you and your brand is. Your brand promotes eating disorders with its focus on unhealthy thinness.
And you, Mr. Jeffries, this brand reflects you more than anyone else. You really haven’t grown out of your need to attempt to elevate yourself by diminishing others? I mean, you are more than 60 years old, you still have a need to discriminate?
I would suggest a good therapist for you Mr. Jeffries, you sorely need it. The world would be a better place if we didn’t have to deal with your specific neurosis’.