Abercrombie & Fitch, once a cherished brand among middle school girls, has recently mastered the art of making people hate it. Mike Jeffries, CEO of A&F and winner of the “Worst Human Ever” award, has a history of speaking his mind and unfortunately for him (and his company), his mind isn’t very pleasant. As a result, the company itself has started to suffer. Here are some reasons why:
1) Its Anti-Fat Campaign
In a 2006 interview with Salon Magazine, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries explained why his stores don’t offer XL or XXL sizes for women, claiming that he doesn’t want to attract buyers that may have been one of the “not-so-cool” kids in high school. “Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny…but then you become totally vanilla,” he said. If Jeffries truly believes that he epitomizes the elite “cool kids,” then I believe he has been grossly misled because surely no group of cool kids in their right mind would hang out with a guy that describes things as “totally vanilla.” Let’s be honest, here.
2) The New “No Black” Policy
In one of its recently released statements, the company’s corporate offices banned its employees from wearing black to work, noting, “We have nothing against black clothing and feel it is perfectly appropriate for things like tuxedos, penguins, zebras, ravens and Oreos.” He actually didn’t say the last few items but he might have because they were equally as irrelevant.
3) Thongs for Kids
At a pitch meeting for Abercrombie & Fitch in 2002, an employee looked at his employees and said with a twinkle in his eye: “You know what this world needs? Thongs for children.” And that’s exactly what he did. (Not based on a true story, but it could have been.) Although the underwear line, which had words like “eye candy” and “wink wink” inscribed on the back, were quickly pulled from the shelves, their mere existence reveals the ignorance floating around behind company lines.
4) Its Focus On Good-Looking People
“[Sexual attraction] is almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.” – Mike Jeffries
Here’s an idea. How about you hire intelligent people, and then, one of them that knows how to use a thesaurus (seriously, do you not know any other word for “good-looking people”) can take over your job and undo all the negativity that your morally-corrupt mind has spewed out over the years?
5) It’s Overpriced
There is a pair of jeans in Abercrombie & Fitch worth 220 dollars. That’s almost as much as a very cheap iPad or one hundred iced coffees. For fabric to cover your legs. The logic here eludes me.
6) Its Larger-Than-Life, Half-Naked Wall Models
Walking through an Abercrombie & Fitch makes me almost as uncomfortable as watching a movie with my parents that contains a large number of sex scenes. Like, am I supposed to be admiring these large, shirtless men on the walls? How long can I stare before admiration turns into weird fascination? What if someone catches me? Is this even socially acceptable? I just can’t handle the pressure, you guys.
7) Keeping Mike Jeffries As the CEO
Most of this is his fault, anyway.
8) The Jungle Atmosphere
I’ve never been on a real safari but I’ve been in Abercrombie & Fitch a couple of times, which is pretty much the same thing. With the foggy air (likely a mix of cologne and drugs that make people delusional enough to continue shopping there) and the lack of proper lighting, A&F could really be an unofficial jungle and you would never know.
9) The Moose Logo
Assuming it is, in fact, a jungle, having a moose as a logo is pretty anti-climactic. I mean, why not a tiger? Or a gorilla? Or a giant python-dragon hybrid? (Which, now that I think about it, would really just be a giant, flying worm, so maybe not, but you get the point.) No offense to meese (I know the plural is also moose but it still sounds weird to me). You guys are still pretty cool, just not vicious enough for a quasi-jungle clothing store.
10) Its Name Is Far Too Long
Abercrombie & Fitch. You can’t even shorten that eloquently. A and F. Aberfitch. Aber & Fitch. Abby. Fitchy. Why not just title it “Clothes”? Saves everyone the trouble.
Image via MassLive.com