Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Abercrombie & Fitch Me

Starting in 8th grade when I began wearing a lot more black than I had previously, people began to have a problem with me on a superficial level. I was the only member of the 7th grade volleyball team not to make the team again in 8th grade and my replacement was this absolutely horrible player. My teachers for the first time ever began giving me the evil eye when they saw me walk into their advanced classes. I retained many of my friends in all cliques I’d made previously but it was harder now to approach the preps (you know the type) because they’d get into this monologue about how I was “so emo.”

I went through a couple of phases in response to these accusations in my middle school years. First, I harbored a growing resentment toward the preps. How dare they judge me based on a color--not even a fashion as I was never “emo”--and think they had the right to reduce me to their idea of what I was worth? I banded with other similarly styled people and we would basically face off the preps anytime they gave us trouble. We even gave them trouble ourselves, teasing them for the price tags on their clothes. Turns out that when they’re not in big numbers, they’re just like us--vulnerable as hell. And I was no better than them.

Then, I moved away from all of that and my new school in another country had a uniform. Aside from expensive shoes and accessories, you couldn’t really establish clashing personalities with clothes alone, so that problem was done with. With this change a new mentality dawned to me:

Frankly, I couldn’t care less what your style is, how much you spend on your clothes, where you buy your clothes, or any such thing. That’s your business.

And I still subscribe to that school of thought. That said, a new mentality I’ve recently come to cultivate is that you should be mindful of the value of the companies you buy your clothes from. Not to say it gives you a right to tear other people down because what the company they’re wearing doesn’t agree morally with you. It’s more on a personal level: What messages are you supporting?

For instance, this recent piece about Abercrombie & Fitch: Banning a girl with a prosthetic arm to the stockroom because she doesn’t fit their corporate Looks Ideal. (This on top of all other negative press they’ve gotten for things that sicken me.) Now, I personally can’t tell an A&F outfit from an, say, AE one. Even if I could, it doesn’t sit well with the person I am today to make assumptions about you based on that alone. So again, this isn’t for show, it’s on a personal level.

Do you like the idea of your money being used to keep a company perpetuating these ideas alive? Do you want that?

Me? I sure as hell don’t, and even if I had the money to buy things at A&F, I’d still stay far, far away. If I was interested in that look I would find somewhere to get it.

40 comments:

Summer said...

Yeah A&F has long been proven to be shallow bigots towards all kinds of people. And their clothes really aren't worth it. I've never set foot in there.

beth said...

Ugh. I saw that story earlier, and it disgusted me. Bravo to you for rising above that immaturity. I've long since quit going to A&F when I saw just how much money they charged for such crappy, crappy clothing. It would make me so happy to see this store crumble on it's own hollow sense of worth.

Amee said...

I agree with you. Aside from A&F just being intimdating (which is why I stayed away in high school), I have now stayed aways because of things like this that I hear about them. Although, I must admit, there are companies I still buy from that I know do horrible things. Sometimes it's not as easy as not buying a piece of expensive clothing.

Taschima Cullen said...

That is just sick. I hate people like that >.>
So many High School student's are like that, and I don't even get it. Your suppose to expand your horizons in High School, do and learn new things, mingle with people that are different from you, not talk trash about them for what they are wearing.

Again disgusting, not buying clothes from that store even if they paid me.

Amy said...

I refuse to support those big overpriced businesses that promote wearing tight clothes "to be popular" and to me, it's like free publicity when you have "HOLLISTER" printed on your shirt. I'd rather express my fashion sense than have a solid colored shirt with hollister on the front.
but what can you do? People want to belong, so they'll wear what they think will make them cool, and I can't criticize that.

Genevieve said...

Oh yeah, I saw that tweet you posted about the girl. Thank god I've never worn any abercrombie and fitch. Like you, I would never be able to tell if something is A&F or a look alike brand, I only would know because they tend to past their logo on a lot of their clothes. And even then, I don't care. Of course, I rather that people didn't support the company but it's their right to choose what brand or style of clothes to express themselves (or to 'fit in', if that's what they most desire).

Bookworm said...

Not only is Abercrombie overpriced, it all looks the same, and it is TOTALLY RACIST, marketing shirts that read "Two Whites Don't Make A Wong" (a big scandal back in the '90s). AWFUL. Besides, why do they have to sell their clothes by using half-naked models?

Library Lounge Lizard said...

Okay, I'll admit it...both my daughters were both obsessed with A&F in middle school and yes, I gave in despite the outrageous cost. I'm pretty sure it is based on the fact my mom wouldn't buy Sara Jeans in 1984 (way old reference sorry)Anyway they have both grew out of that phase when they saw they could get way more stuff somewhere else. In addition to A&F I also won't shop at WALMART (blah) only because of how crappy they are to the communities the reside in and the fact the basically use slave labor for all their crappy stuff.

Janssen said...

Ugh, I loathe A&F for exactly those reasons. Plus, a million others.

Erica said...

I'm proud of the fact I've never even set foot in a A&F lolz. It's over priced clothing that 90% is ugly as all heck. My wardrobe consists of basically stuff I find a rummages, Hot Topic, Kohls and Aeropostale.

Erica said...

I also love how at like Hollister and A&F it's like you pay $20 extra to have that name plastered across your chest. Really that's all it is.

Ruth @ Bookish Ruth said...

I've been in an Abercrombie & Fitch store exactly once. The clerk took one look at me (I was not dressed up, having just come from a trip to Home Depot on an emergency paint run -- we'd just moved and I was in the middle of painting the entire house), and honestly, if looks could kill, I would have been lying in a pool of my own blood on the store's floor. There are limits to my preppyness; I do not paint in designer clothes.

She followed me around the entire store, sighing dramatically as she did so, as if having me in the store was the worst possible thing that could have happened to her. Now, I'm a nice person. I don't like confrontation. But I was tired and not in the mood for attitude that day. I turned around and told her, "I was planning to come back and buy my fall wardrobe here. But since I'm clearly not welcome, I'll be taking my business elsewhere. Congratulations on losing a $400 sale." The look on her face? Priceless.

Ann-Kat said...

So far, A&F has producted racially offensive t-shirts, have had racially offensive hiring practices, and now they are producing sexually offensive t-shirts...I'm almost wondering what else they have up their sleeve.

Frankly, I've never spent a dime in A&F and nor will I ever. I hope more people catch wind of this and just stop shopping their altogether. Of course, the people who *need* to read about this probably never will. *sigh*

Lizzy said...

Ugh, I still remember their quarterly "catalogs"...which were basically people undressing...I was glad to see that teen girls were the reason that the T-shirts got banned though. A&F fail.

Lenore said...

My neighbor here in Germany made me buy him a couple of their polo shirts last Christmas. It was the only time I've ever been in the store. The lighting was bad (dark), the music was so loud as to prevent talking, the "too good looking to bother helping you" staff ignored me, and two of the shirts I picked up had HOLES in them! WORST SHOPPING EXPERIENCE EVER!

Beth F said...

I don't shop there anyway, but now I have another reason to stay away.

bermudaonion said...

I do try to be a conscientious consumer, but I'm sure I make mistakes from time to time. I way past A & F's target age group, so I don't shop there.

Jodie said...

Hi Steph,

I wonder if you might be able to help me. This year I’m running The Year of Readers, a year long, online sponsored read-a-thon where readers collect money for various literacy charities. Not only is each participant working to raise money for a worthy cause, but each book an official participant reads earns Eco-Libris (an organization that plants trees) a penny from my own pocket.

We’re doing well with some participants collecting as much as $200 in sponsorship and the total of books just keeps growing. However a few of our readers have had trouble getting sponsors and are currently sponsoring themselves. In order to raise as much money as possible for charity I’d like to hold some silent auctions via Justgiving to boost some of our readers sponsorship totals.

I’ll personally be donating a signed copy of Joe Hill’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’ and a signed copy of Robin Jarvis’ ‘The Raven’s Knot’ but we need some more fantastic items, which is why I’m contacting you today. I read your blog often and I know you have close relationships with some wonderful authors. I was wondering if you might feel comfortable being a bit of an ambassador for our cause and asking if some of them would donate signed copies of their books, or anything else that might encourage people to bid.

You can see the fundraising pages of the people whose totals I’m trying to increase here: http://bookgazing.blogspot.com/2009/06/yera-of-readers-fundraising-drive.html
I hope to be able to hold one auction for each of these readers.

I would be so grateful if you were able to help out, but I totally understand if this isn’t something you feel comfortable doing. Apologies for putting this on your blog but I know you’re not checking your emails at the moment.

Thanks so much for reading

Jodie

Just Blinded Book Reviews said...

I've never been into A&F, but that was just because I had a headache whenever I walked by the store. Seriously, what kind of perfume do they use? But now, I actually have a solid reason for hating that store. Thanks Steph!

My sister will love hearing this because she hates that store.

Anonymous said...

You mean it's not just me? I've only been in an A&F once and felt like my mere presence was an imposition on the teenage cashier and floor sales person because I'm wasn't five-foot-nine and born to be a supermodel. Who wants to get treated like crap AND pay twenty bucks more for a t-shirt at the same time?

How the fuck do they have any business treating people like that? I'm not half-bad to look at and I'm on the skinny side of average weight, but I do have to say I felt BAD after that. I don't think I realized just how bad until I read these other comments.

Kate said...

We don't really have A&F here but I'd never heard of any of this before. I've been to one before when I was in the US and never bought anything. I'm glad I didn't now.

I hope the jerkwads get whats coming to them. They deserve to be struggling in the economic times. I can't belive they have a policy about how people must look! Sickening.

Reader Rabbit said...

Yet another reason why I won't ever take another step into A & F again...

Ronni said...

I used to go in there to ogle the guys who worked there. Not gonna lie. And I used to buy their perfume. But you know what? I can ogle hot guys anytime, and there are tons of other perfumes out there that smell better.

Donna said...

The scent wafting out of my local A&F is enough to keep me away from the store (and running to my bottle of Advil) let alone this kind of crap. Then there's also it's clone, Hollister, where people are paid to just stand around and look pretty. And their clothes, in both stores, suck to hard it hurts. Glad I never bought into the A&F thing. Blah.

Rebecca Herman said...

I haven't shopped there in a long time because they are overpriced. I can just as easily get a polo somewhere else for half the price.

Purdypirate said...

I cant stand this kind of thing. It positively boggles me how people judge others that way.

Ally said...

This is disgusting. I tend to stay away from A & F because of the kind of people who work there-people who are really pretty and know that they are, therefore giving off an "I am better than you" attitude. The fact that the company would treat this poor girl that has already been trough a lot in her life in such a discriminative way will keep me from shopping there for sure.

Jodie said...

HIya,

I was thinking I'd run the auctions in August (because June and July are just too busy for me). Hopefully that will give me time to gather cool things and organise exactly how these things will run. I'm going to try contacting the author I've made a bit of a link with in my limited blogging time and hopefully get a few more of the bloggers I read regularly involved.

ARCs would be great! I know YA readers always want to get their hands on the next new thing. Would it be best if you sent your items down to me directly and I could pass them on to those who win the auctions (I'm in the UK but if you're willing to donate I can definately send you the postage costs before you post out)? Just let me know what you can donate.

If you know any other bloggers you think might be interested in helping out I'd really appreciate it if you'd pass my details on.

Thanks for replying

Jodie

Rabie said...

You hit the nail on its head Ally,

My name is May and I am Riam's mother. We are overwhelmed with the messages of support whether directly to Riam on her facebook or in the various blogs around the world.

As any mother would, I wished I could take the pain away from her at the time. I thought I prepared her physically to manage and not to let this minor imperfection ever stand in her way. She sang classical at high school in several languages, danced, played music and paints the most beautiful pictures. A straight A student and just completed her degree in Law from Queen Mary's College, University of London. Always believed that if anyone didn’t accept her it was their problem not ours. Any one of us could loose an arm or a leg in an accident, yet I could never have prepared her for the psychological trauma A&F had inflicted on her during her first ever job at the tender age of 21. She once asked me: is this how its always going to be? Thousands of decent people around the world have answered Riam, No this is not how it’s always going to be. We are so happy that your voices are being heard along with hers.

Thank you.

Laina said...

I buy my clothes at a store called the Bargain! Shop. I get an employee discount and they're quite nice looking and comfortable.

I don't care what anyone thinks of that. They're clothes. Move along.

Rabid Fox said...

I thought I was dismissive and judgmental for thinking A&F was worn only by d-bags and other undesirables. Now I find out the people who work there are even worse. Yikes.

Morgan @ BLT said...

This is A&F to a tea! So glad I caught this discussion. For years I've been trying to figure out what's the big deal with A&F and Hollister (which is owned by A&F or something like that). Everywhere I look there's someone wearing a Hollister shirt. Frankly, I don't want to look like some billboard. I've go into Hollister oh, maybe five times and bought absolutely nothing.
As for A&F, I actually like their clothes but they come from China too, so are you really getting anything special? I've never bought anything from A&F either, and for several reasons. 1) It's so expensive, it's ridiculous! 2) If I ever bought something that pricey, I'd be too nervous to even wear it. 3) I don't like what A&F are presenting to teens and adults alike.

A few years ago A&F got into trouble for having their young models appear naked for a photoshoot. Have you seen their shopping bags lately? I think I'd be a tad embarrassed to hunk around a picture like that.
As for A&F response?
"We're just giving the young adult nation what they want......"
Um, right. If that's the case, A&F planted that idea in our heads in the first place.

My final word in the matter? Screw A&F and don't let the world tell you how to dress.
Great topic Steph! :)

Anonymous said...

My name is Madilyn and im from Biloxi, MS and i met the hottest guy in Tupelo, Ms his name is Blake G. he works at the A&F and i believe he should get a raise he helped me out in every way possible!! He's awesome! he's mine so dont think about it!

Anonymous said...

you guys are rediculous.

Anonymous said...

I shop at A&F because I like the way the clothes look, fit and hold up; not because anyone else does or due to marketing. I used to work there and was repeatedly asked to model but I purposefully took early morning hours in the stock room and preparing displays because I had another job and I'm just a normal person living my life. Really, I just have other things on my mind than mass conspiracy discrimination or scandals in public shopping malls. : )

Anonymous said...

In general Abercrombie works. It works by often creating a division in society in which some people love or hate what the product stands for- an exclusive social group. If people were more apathetic to the clique of Abercrombie then how would the clique so strongly exist? Abercrombie needs to be loathed in order for it to be relished by others. Abercrombie will continue to piss people off and flaunt its ways in order to feed off of that energy.

Anonymous said...

ANF stands for ASS FUCKED!!!

Anonymous said...

not all stores are like this. at my anf one of the floor models has a deformed arm and wears short sleeves all the time.

Anonymous said...

i shop st abercrombie and fitch alot and yes it s very overpriced 75 dollars for three shirts and 80 dollars for 1 pair of jeans its non-sense at my school if you wear abercrombie and hollister its a sign of wealth and popularity, girls think its the greastest thing since cell phones. every time i turn around some girl or boy has on hollister and A&Fitch personally im tired of looking like everyone else now thatppl know i can afford there overspiced supermodel bs then maybe its time to listen to my mom and start shopping at other stores thanks so much for bringing this to my attention.

Anonymous said...

I've been in an Abercrombie & Fitch store exactly once. The clerk took one look at me (I was not dressed up, having just come from a trip to Home Depot on an emergency paint run ..Ugh, I still remember their quarterly "catalogs"...which were basically people undressing.



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