Take a busy shopping centre and one can’t fail to notice something from the set of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, no signs, no labels, no sing of life, darkness and little clue as to what was inside yet alone which brand. I was informed that the Western inspired wonder was Abercrombie & Fitch.
Here is a brand which is so elite it needs no introduction, no labels and no signs. For us mere mortals walking past it remains a cloudy mystery for which I am glad to say I have never ventured inside. Abercrombie’s attitude derives from CEO Mike Jeffries and Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail discuss how:
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people…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.’”
I am not a ‘cool kid,’ I have never been a cool kid and probably never will be. I am however a consumer and after being outraged on hearing the news that Abercrombie & Fitch consider anything above a size 10 undesirable, I resigned myself to the unfair world of exclusion.
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.
Is there anything wrong with being exclusive?
Yes, all the fatties out there will be shouting and cursing, but the truth is that exclusion is everywhere. Being five foot ten and a size 12 I am excluded from the Petite ranges in 95% of High Street stores, I also can’t shop in Evans or Plus size specialist but does anybody cry out for the exclusion of the average? No. Does anybody complain about the Women’s Institute whose membership is exclusively female? No. How about the extremely biased NHS who spend millions on specialised equipment to move forty stone flabbies, whilst other individuals are refused life-saving cancer treatment because it is deemed too expensive. Exclusion is everywhere.
I do not welcome this exclusion, or any exclusion, but Abercrombie & Fitch are good at what they do. They have never targeted over sixties with elasticated waists or cushioned sandals and never will. By opening their biased mouths they have very cleverly outraged a nation whilst ensuring that their commercially beautiful customers sit smugly in their designer clothes resisting the urge to waste more money by visiting their nearest Abercrombie & Fitch store to confirm their own need to be one the ‘cool kids’. Genius marketing like this puts Abercrombie & Fitch at the top of the fashion ladder as all up and coming wannabe’s desperately strive to be a ‘cool kid’ which equates in being able to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch.
Please note: Anyone really offended by Abercrombie & Fitch should a) Get over themselves and b) Check out how the CEO resembles something from Lord of the Rings.