A few months ago, quotes surfaced from from Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mark Jefferies about fat people. Fat people were not welcome in his store. He wanted thin, beautiful, popular people wearing his clothes and he made no mystery about it. As hard as he tried to preserve the image of the gangly teenager wearing his $80 t-shirts, sales plummeted. Now, A+F have decided to expand their line to plus sizes. But it’s too late.
When Mark Jeffries made his original statements, he was banking on two things.
1. Fat people would hang their heads in shame and accept that they aren’t worthy enough to don overpriced clothes and sob quietly into their Ben and Jerry’s.
2. Thin people would hold their heads high, secure in the knowledge that they are superior to those people without thinness in their genetics and shop at A+F so that they could continue to be seen as thin, beautiful and popular.
Unfortunately, for him, neither of these things happened.
I went to the A+F Facebook page a few days after the scandal broke and read through some of the comments that people were leaving. Around 98% of them were negative. Mothers informed the company that they would no longer take their daughters to shop there, plus sized teens told them that they are beautiful and don’t need a clothing company’s permission to know so, thin teens chastised the company for being so discriminatory and refused to shop in a place that held their friends, family members and school mates in such low esteem.
These days, most people are intelligent enough to realize that discrimination, against anyone, is not okay. Bigotry, even against unpopular groups, is becoming less and less tolerated. America voted with their wallet and sent a clear message to A+F that unfairness against entire groups of people is not acceptable.
So now that the shit has well and truly hit the fan and Abercrombie and Fitch’s profits are circling the drain, they decide to do the one thing that they claimed they would never do. But the reality of the situation is that they haven’t seen the light. They haven’t realized that a person’s worth is not defined by numbers on the scale. They just realized that no one likes a hatemonger. Also that a fat person’s money is just as green as a thin person’s.
The fact that the company only decided to add this plus sized line after their profits were down and they were looking forward to a bleak holiday season just shows that they just want money. They did something that was bad for business and now that they realize it, they’re trying to recoup their profits. It has nothing to do with them seeing the light or realizing the errors of their ways. They just want money from the people that they openly discriminated against.
Personally, I have never owned a piece of clothing from A+F and never plan on it. It’s just not my style to begin with and they don’t have Hello Kitty designs. But even if I had been shopping at A+F for all of my clothes, the fact that they realized they were losing money and are now trying to get money out of the very people they made it clear that they don’t want wearing their clothes, is not a place that I would ever shop at. Ever.
When you’re in business to make money, morals, ethics, and standards can all disappear as soon as the cash stops flowing. There was no grand revelation here. A+F simply realized that no one wants to clothe themselves in hate. We’ll see what happens, but I highly doubt that their profits will recover even with their new plus sized clothing line. The girls who would fit their bigger sizes already know that A+F is only catering to them because they have to, not because they want to or because the company sees them as beautiful, worthwhile people.