…but bad ad campaigns do:
Abercrombie & Fitch faced so much backlash over an image it posted of a plus-sized woman modeling the brand’s shorts that it decided to delete the image from its Instagram page.
The photo was posted late last week and quickly went viral, with critics accusing the fashion retailer of promoting unhealthy lifestyles and glorifying obesity. This is a complete turnaround from a company that was once shunned for discriminating against women of average weight.
“New Abercrombie & Fitch ad just dropped…. This season they are featuring diabetes and heart attacks,” one person responded on Twitter to the original photo.
Don’t follow the Twitter link in the article unless you have a seriously strong stomach.
The larger [sic] point, though, is this. Every business has the right to offer its product to a self-defined sector of the market: Big & Tall stores don’t have an “XS” or “petite” selection of clothing, and should face no opposition from the Skinnies for doing so. How, then, is that any different from A&C’s prior positioning statement:
Meanwhile, in 2013, the CEO of Abercrombie went viral for making comments about overweight customers wearing the brand after the retailer was accused of refusing to sell XL- or XXL-sized clothing.
Robin Lewis, author of “The New Rules of Retail,” explained the CEO’s thoughts on the brand, Elite Daily reported.
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said of then-CEO Mike Jeffries. “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.’”
Nothing wrong with that. But as the Terminally Obese Set finds this “insulting” just because they have bodies that show evidence of multiple trips to the buffet bar and therefore can’t find “fashions” to suit their bloated frames, stores now have to change their policy?
It’s ironic that I come to Abercrombie’s defense here, because one of the real (and rare) shopping pleasures I experienced when moving here in the mid-80s was finding a store that catered to mature (in outlook) men, and sold quality clothing for grownups. (I know, they used to sell guns, even, but that was in a different time.)
So I was furious when they changed from a man’s store to a yuppie-kids’ outlet, and their real safari gear changed to fashionable (i.e. not real) clothing. I’ve not set foot in one since, oh, about 1990, but while I hated their new policy, I just accepted it and moved on.
As should the Fatties — although the very fact that Abercrombie now markets clothing for the Elephantine Set means they’ve moved far from Mike Jeffries, and closer to Lane Bryant.
Idiots. Maybe they should go back to selling clothes and accessories for men.