This open letter was fantastic and true. My children although thin enough to
wear those clothes know that clothes are just that clothes. They do not define
who you are as a person. This is one company that will never be a part of our
families shopping experience.
The most cogent argument in this whole discussion comes from estreetshuffle,
Window Rock, AZ, home of the Navajo Tribal Government. We'd all be better
off learning what the Navajos mean by their term "hozho", which we
loosely translate into English as "beauty." It's one of those
translation problems: the meaning of the term gets lost in the process. But some
of the lost meaning comes through in the English phrase "beauty is more than
skin deep." estreetshuffle, if you know anything about this (and I suspect
you do, if you're a Trading Post shopper,") enlighten the rest of us
further!We'd all be better off learning not to equate
"beauty" with the latest fashion or physical appearance. True beauty is
much deeper than that.
Ah, Mr. Wright. Capitalist, eh? You could do with a lesson from our friendly
Amish Jihadist, Tripp York, who recently wrote on the very subject of A&F.
Perhaps you'd care to look him up. He was writing to fellows just like you!
It turns out, you see, that under the so-called "free
market" system to which you yourself pay homage, corporations do not
actually tell anyone "what is beautiful." No, not at all! Here is the
little secret: The market tells corporations what the market thinks is
beautiful. It does this with its money. So, Mr. Wright, it is we who
have made Mike Jeffries. Our money made him and told him just what to say and
think. He is a reflection of us, who are perhaps a little too self-conscious
about the brands we dress our kids in. That's the thing about
I'd rather buy clothes from a garage sale.
[It's troubling how many people seem to thrive on bitterness and
contention. It is possible to have conversations about interesting and important
things without attacking other people.]
Thank you Jason for another well-written article and for being willing to call
out A&F for their disturbing lack social decency.Your sister
gave us a copy of your "Christmas Jars" book a few years ago. The
contrast between that story, and the message A&F is sending out
couldn't be more stark.
Love it!! We don't shop there. My kids don't shop there. We live in
LA, and we're cool but we're also humble and respectful. We
don't have stars on thars. We don't exclude and we don't divide.
A & F is ridiculous. Its all show. It has no value or values.
Anybody besides me sick of people like Dwayne overusing the word
Here is the predatory nature of capitalism in terms most can understand.
Hi Kellie Buckner – Just saw your comment to me. Capitalism is
intrinsically a class-based system. A capitalist, for example, is a
person/people distinguished from the common classes on the basis of the fact
that they own capital. The capitalist employs people from the lower class
systems, as labor to earn wages, while the capitalist realizes a profit, ie, an
increase in their stock of capital. It is informative because Mr. Wright fails
to acknowledge that motivation driving Abercrombie & Fitch’s marketing
is to in fact maximize their profits. They do so literally by exploiting the
class systems established by capitalism. How do they do this? By providing a
message to society that one way to distinguish yourself along this class-system,
is to buy their clothes and shop in their stores. These people “favor
capitalism”, and we call them consumers!
It's not capitalism, it's consumerism. And this consumer can easily
pass by A&F.
I still remember overhearing a conversation in middle school about how
embarrassed a girl was that her mother had taken her into a Kmart store - what
if someone had seen her there? How much garbage I had to take from other kids
because my clothes weren't fashionable or expensive - I didn't own a
pair of designer jeans.For those above who are guys (which I'm
guessing from the screen names is most of you), you have no idea how nasty girls
can be to each other over clothes. They better be in style, name brand,
expensive and bought at the right store. A&F just encourages that kind of
behavior. As well as marketing sexualized clothes to young girls, which is
equally damaging, teaching them that their most important feature is their body
- and it better be super skinny, tanned, the right amount of curves and they all
better be exposed as much as legally possible.Meanwhile, I'll
keep my kids in schools with uniforms and teach them the opposite, while feeding
them healthy and encouraging them to be active.
[they need a Pop-Tart. Most of them look like their legs could fit into the
paper sleeve of a Pixy Stix.]What a hypocrite! The author complains
about Abercrombie and Fitch trying to shame people for the way they look, but
then he does the exact same to the kids that work their (most of them are pretty
young).Envy looks bad on anybody.
Dwayne in Provo, sounds like you were never bullied, and that is really great. A
bully is someone who calls you horrible names, often in front of others, in
order to humiliate you and to somehow make himself feel more important. A bully
leaves lasting scars on victims. If the author believes the models/sales
associates at A&F could use a few extra calories in their diets because they
border on being too thin, that is opinion, not bullying. At any rate, I will not
let my teenage daughter shop at A&F or Hollister, despite her displeasure
with me. It's not about the skinny-people-only thing; it's the fact
they are selling "sex." I am trying to steer my children away from bad
influences, and I throw those two stores into the category of bad influences.
Several years ago my 18 year old son bought a brand new jacket at A&F in D.C
where was working and was very pleased. On the bus going home with his new
jacket he saw an A&F advertisement. He was disgusted by it so the next day
he returned the jacket and got his money back. I was proud of him. There are
lots of businesses I don't support because I don't like their
Apparently many have not been on the receiving end of snobbery from the
"cool' crowd. It is an awful thing and believe me it hurts. That's
the message I got out of the article. Mr. Wright was gently informing the
A&F organization that their marketing plan is a form of us vs. them. Which,
unfortunately, goes on in the teen scene almost everywhere.The hate
and 'better than thou' attitudes it fosters is not the path our teens
should be led down. And, A&F's attitude does lend to the spread of
that. Sadly, people pay a lot of money to aid them in doing it. The
other side of the coin is what many posts are saying. Beauty is not in waist
size or straight teeth, rather its the inner self. And, that's the message
all adults should be promoting to the younger generations.
I often went Abercrombie and Fitch, the original one in NYC, just to marvel at
it's unusual products. This was in 1966. It was always out of reach
financially and wasn't a clothing brand or store then, but carried replica
model A Fords, incredible toys and goods that could not be found anywhere else.
It was always a cool experience to just browse. Unfortunately, from my
perspective, it was a store catering to the super rich. It sounds like it has
kept it's market but has changed it to the younger set, the impressionable
and those most susceptable to wanting to be part of 'the proud crowd'.
I have not read a single comment or article questioning his right to market to
whomever he wishes. We are within our rights to criticize shallow attitudes like
Bullying...that's funny. Ambercombie & Finch don't determine
style, consumers do. And, yes, there is a difference in our society between the
haves and have-nots.I think the point here is that people are in
fact judged by what they wear and only judged by who they are after we get to
know them. Fair enough. If you come to a job-interview in jeans and a t-shirt, I
will have an immediate prejudice.So if we know this is true, why
don't we neutralize a lot of this and require uniforms in schools?
Can't we curtail the impact of this by using uniforms? The data supports
the supposition. I have kids and they are all thin, physically attractive and
fashionable. I wonder if we wouldn't all be better off if fashion was less
of a focus in our schools.
Dwayne,Bullying is your word. Few readers will agree with your attribution
of this title to Jason Wright. And yes, his article is well written and civil.
You must be an over-sensitive skinny person. Have you not paid attention to the
articles about the poor/dangerous health of fashion models who starve themselves
to perpetuate the thinness so they can keep their jobs. That's what Jason
was referring to...not to people who are naturally thin or not "obese."
If the CEO were really honest, he'd admit that the demographic A&F
targets is actually "the cool kids with plenty of daddy's money, but
little sense of value." Looking at A&F's prices once
was enough for my kids to hear: "No Way!"
I don't get the uproar over this CEO's comments. He has the right to
make them. A company has the right to make product for whomever they want and
determine anyone or no one to be cool by their own standards. Get over it,
folks."But what about the children!?"It's
up to parents and peers to build people up. Not CEOs. If you can't fit into
A&F, go somewhere else. There are PLENTY of options options for
"cool" apparel.Seriously, people are taking this CEO's
comments, of which we really don't know the context or intended audience,
and using it to get on our high horses.Let it go. You're
letting this executive live in your head rent free.
Mr. Wright was definitely not "bullying". His comment was simply a
knee-jerk defensive reaction to fact that Abercrombie & Fitch does promote a
classism of sorts. He is right on that point, and right to be a little bothered
by it. However, he lost sight of the fact that his anger was towards Abercrombie
& Fitch, and instead targeted their bottom wage employees instead. The irony
is, he simply maintained the class boundaries established by Abercrombie &
Fitch by reinforcing the distinctions between the skinny kids who their clothes,
and those other kids who don't. He didn't foster an improved ideal of
beauty that embraces diversity and uniqueness, rather he simply tried to move
the social dial so that the handsome kids are no longer handsome and the
unhandsome becomes the new handsome.
Wow!Writing an "open letter" is bullying? Really? Jason Wright
didn't even advocate that people not shop at A&F. All he did is
express a point of view, with the faith (sure knowledge?) that some people would
agree with him, and that some people would not.Labeling someone as skinny,
even too skinny, is something that our society has always done with impunity,
because it has never been considered hurtful (at 6'2" I weighed
Dwayne I don't think got this article; but that's okay. Jason, well
spoken and pretty clear. And he nothing he said promotes obesity. There is
difference between "feeling" and "being" healthy and attractive,
versus being obsessed with numbers such weight and waist size to the point where
one seeks to maintain the appearance of being emaciated because someone models
this look as the one that is appropriate and cool. More so the open letter was
addressing the idea that self worth is something you get with money buying the
"desired" (read marketed) "cool" label to the exclusion and
detriment of those with less means both financially and genetically. We're
familiar with such marketing; but, it is another thing for this CEO to so openly
flaunt his catering to class war. As Jason said, that's his right to
speech and capitalism.Having not read, seen or heard anything else
about this, I appreciate Jason using his free speech to bring this to our
attention. If this is the marketing strategy of A&F, may they go out of
business soon... and have their high brow wares liquidated/discounted at Ross,
Big Lots, Goodwill and DI.
Regardless of what parents and people do, write letters,etc., Abercrombie &
Fitch will still be around. There is a market for them. Just like
how there is a market for Nike, Victoria's Secret, etc. I
don't like Hot Topic and how they are so 'dark' and the way they
market and advertise, but i'm not going to get all uspet over it. If you don't like Abercrombie, then don't shop there or go near
their stores. Simple as that.
Mr. Wright,I think that you are right. Those who cannot see the
beauty in all good people are missing a great deal of life.You are
also right: The darkness of the store reflects the darkness of Mr. Jeffries
soul.You are still right: Different people have different ideas of
what is aesthetically attractive. I'll take my wife.Mr.
Jeffries is superficial and artificial but is in no way beneficial. I hope he
enjoys his store. I have never darkened the door and don't plan to do so
any time soon. I plan to put my money to a more beneficial use.
I just wonder why the DN put this "letter" under the "Faith"
category. Even an atheist could be offended by A&F's marketing
strategy. Or is this a subtly targeted message to the faithful DN subscribers
about modesty, and to avoid A&F because it promotes immodest clothing?
Dwayne - The CEO is making lots of money by putting out the message
that some kids are cool and some are not, they'll use their marketing
strategy and a price tag to inform you of it. It makes for a twisted and warped,
materialistic society which condones body discrimination.Tell me how
talking out against this practice is bullying? In general - Yes,
there is such a thing as a healthy weight. But being 20 lbs underweight is far
less healthy than being 20 lbs overweight. We all have to wear
clothes, and making a living off of making them is an honorable thing. But doing
it in such a way as to reinforce attitudes which damage our society and hurts
individuals is quite dishonorable. Jeffries is the bully here.
Wow . . . people will get bent out of shape over anything nowadays!
7th & 9th paragraphs are pure comedy gold. To Dwayne above;
Isn't the A & F CEO already "bullying"The A & F
CEO has every right to be an idiot... Its America.I have never
shopped there or Hot Topic. I've never cared for the merchandise or the
vibe I get from either.
Dwayne in Provo, the author is not bullying just like the owner of the company
is not bullying in the America I live in it is still o.k. to voice you're
opinion, just as you have done here and as I have done here. I'm not
bullying you. . . my opinion (which I'm allowed to have is that your
opinion of what the author of the article is doing is ridiculous. By the way my
kids would have fit the A and F clothing line but they chose not to spend that
much money on clothes that advertise while you wear them. They had good self
esteem and their friends liked them no matter what they wore. If kids at school
are picking friends by what people wear than they probably aren't someone
you really want your kids to be friends with. My opinion is that the author of
the article was just giving his opinion on judging people by what they wear. My
kids had friends who did wear some A & F clothes but they still were friends
with my girls. Obviously they were brought up right no matter what they wore.
Who cares? Why single out A&F? I can think of a handful of
other stores and brands that are no different in their marketing. If you don't want the clothes, don't buy them. If you disagree with
their marketing, don't buy in. Those who like the clothes, go ahead and
buy them. Of all the problems going on in this country and
throughout the world, the marketing strategy of one clothing company seems
incredibly insignificant, especially when the simple choice of not buying the
clothes can eliminate the angst of those who are so upset with the company.
I had never even heard of A & F until now. We shop for clothes at DI,
Savers, and Walmart. Costco for special occasions. We have six boys and two
girls. We teach them that if they want to stand out, they should do it by
developing their talents and achieving challenging goals, not by the clothes
CHS 85Sandy, UTAnd how much free publicity did you just
give him? The solution is sooooo simple. Don't shop there if you don't
like their stuff, if their stuff doesn't fit, or you have other beef with
them. The feigned outrage every time someone says something you don't agree
with is tiresome.So, if Jason's stuff is to tiresome, follow
your own advice and don't read it or comment on it.And, did you
really see outrage in his article? I thought it was civil, controlled, and well
Whaaa? "What you cannot do is tell us what’s beautiful. Corporate
America doesn’t define beauty, the soul does." ???Corporate America defines beauty all the time. If not, things like 5 inch
heels, fake eyelashes, and most "fashion" wouldn't even exist. As
a society, we line up to be told by Corporate America what the next beautiful
things is - then we rush out and buy it.I lived through the Disco
Era, and know that my soul was not involved in the clothing designs I wore.
Jason Wright, you crack me up! You have a way of getting us to see the humor in
life's complexities. I've got the skinny kids, but we don't shop
at A & F for several reasons. You have spoken about a few of those reasons
in such a way that my rolling laughter has put it all into perspective. Thanks
for a delightful start to my day!
@DistantThunderI think there are bigger issues here than marketing
to a particular size. One is whether AF's highly-sexualized marketing has
an undesirable effect on our children's environment. My children won't
shop there, but some kids their age will and I wonder how AF's marketing
will influence the way that other kids behave toward my children. Another issue is that the marketing exploits class distinctions among children
for profit. By making their products representative of a very selective
definition of beauty, they can drive up the price. When the cool kids'
club is very selective, you have to pay a lot to get in. That also has an
effect on children that may not be desirable.Free speech is
important. Like Mr. Wright, I value the freedom to speak out against business
practices that I think may be harmful. Lest someone suggest that
media and advertising can't really influence people's behavior, then
why do companies spend billions of dollars on it? No one would pay big money
for a Super Bowl ad if they thought it wouldn't help someone to think and
behave in a way that would support buying their product.
If this store is going after for the "cool kids", why did they pick the
name Abercrombie & Fitch? Sounds like an accountants firm to me.
And how much free publicity did you just give him? The solution is sooooo
simple. Don't shop there if you don't like their stuff, if their stuff
doesn't fit, or you have other beef with them. The feigned outrage every
time someone says something you don't agree with is tiresome.
I like my good old 501 jeans purchased from the Trading Post and a good old
white T Shirt from Walmart and some good old Springsteen tunes. cheap and still
@Mormoncowboy,You don't have to have shopped at A&F to know what
the store is like. Just walking past one of their stores gives you every detail
Mr. Wright mentioned. I've never been inside one of these stores, but I
already knew everything he said in describing them. Also, your comment that
he's not a capitalist is incorrect. One definition of a capitalist is
someone who favors capitalism. From what I know of Mr. Wright, he is most
definitely a capitalist. Yes, he criticized the models and said waist size
doesn't matter. You're missing the point he was making. Waist size
doesn't matter, but being a healthy weight does.
So...the size of waist lines do not matter, just literally sentences after Jason
Wright was criticizing the "models", or "sales associates", for
being too skinny and in desperate need of a pop-tart???In this
story, Mr. Wright is not a "capitalist", he's a consumer. The best
thing he can do is not shop at places that don't uphold his values. What
did he do instead? He described in rather familiar detail the experience of
shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch??????
Evidence of good genes like symmetrical facial features and good skin and teeth,
have always been signs of beauty. Now that we understand the health risks
associated with obesity, is it any wonder that society considers overweight
people less attractive. The CEO's point is that A&F clothes are not
designed to fit on a 200lb 5'4 woman. Do you have the same problem with
sports car makers who design to a particular height?