Teens Stop Shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch

Abercrombie and Fitch is a brand that teens begged for a few years ago because it was exclusive and a cool label. But recently, it isn’t unusual to see a tweet or Facebook post making fun of the once popular store.

The kids who used to pay an unreasonable price for the brand are now sarcastically requesting a gas mask and flashlight before entering the dark, perfume filled abode of Abercrombie and Fitch.

“I used to shop at Abercrombie and Fitch in middle school because it was cool,” said senior Olivia Layton. “But I don’t shop there anymore.”

The recent decrease in popularity might have something to do with the callous announcements made by Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries in 2006 in an interview with Salon Magazine.

“Abercrombie and Fitch doesn’t want to create the image that just anybody, poor people, can wear their clothing. Only people of a certain stature are able to purchase and wear the company name,” said Jeffries.

Dunbar students disagree with Jeffries’ statement.

“It was so wrong of him to say those things. He was harsh and judgmental. His position needs to be reevaluated if they want the company to do well,” said senior Keeli Abney.

While Layton didn’t necessarily agree with Jeffries, she doesn’t believe the company should fire him.

“He has freedom of speech and is allowed to choose who he markets to, just like we are able to choose whether or not to shop there,” she said.

It might not be right to fire Jeffries, but he made more than one mistake in 2006.

“A lot of people don’t belong and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely,” he said.

Jeffries believed that people who wear Abercrombie and Fitch clothes have to be thin. The store doesn’t carry pants larger than size 10 for women.

“Successful businesses cater to everyone,” said Abney. “Jeffries is only hurting himself by not carrying bigger sizes.”

Brian Sozzi, of Belus Capital Advisors, called Abercrombie and Fitch a “fundamentally flawed” company.

Senior Emily Ponder can attest to this. She used to work at Abercrombie.

“He [Jeffries] creates a snobby environment. Certain people just don’t want to shop there,” said Ponder.

Layton agrees with Ponder.

“When I heard about what Jeffries said, I gave my Abercrombie clothes away. I didn’t want to be associated with that hateful company,” she said.
In addition to being hateful, the company is also hurtful.

“The company downright refuses to help anyone in need,” said an Abercrombie and Fitch District Manager, who requested to remain unnamed.

In order to maintain its high-end image, the store burns unused or damaged clothes rather than donate them to people who desperately need them, such as the homeless or natural disaster victims.

Abercrombie and Fitch sales have declined drastically because of Jeffries’ apathy. Wall Street claims that the store’s sales are off more than 30 percent this year; their shares have dropped 7.8 percent. Back to school sales were at an all-time low.

It’s no wonder that sales are down. Teens are tired of society telling them how to look. Every kid is not going to be stick thin. Every kid is not going to be rich.

Jeffries has realized this due to the recent decline in sales. In order to save his company, he has approved what was once unthinkable. The company will carry larger sizes for women for the first time this spring.

In a world where inclusivity is in, Abercrombie and Fitch’s exclusivity is finally out. Campaigns such as “Fitch the Homeless” have swept the nation. The campaign objects Jeffries and the store because of announcements in 2006.

Cultural critic Greg Karber explains “Fitch the Homeless” in his YouTube video, Abercrombie & Fitch Gets a Brand Readjustment.  The video features Karber redistributing Abercrombie and Fitch clothing to homeless people in an effort to provide Abercrombie clothing for the very people that Jeffries hoped to avoid.

Jeffries’ exclusiveness isn’t popular anymore because teens want to shop in stores that accept them and don’t send them into sticker shock.  Abercrombie and Fitch has sent out a message of snobbery for years, and people bought the act. No one wants to be told that they aren’t welcome, and Abercrombie and Fitch will no longer be able to send that message and have success.