Walk through the mall and pass an Abercrombie & Fitch store and you know it.
Music thump, thump, thumps from speakers that can’t be seen, cologne permeates the open air outside the store and gorgeous young models pose pretty in the window. Abercrombie.
It’s what they’re known for.
And they’d like to keep it that way.
The teen retailer doesn’t stock XL or XXL clothes for a reason. They don’t want overweight people wearing their brand. According to recent reports, they only want the “cool kids” to sport their polos and skinny jeans (pun not intended). According to Abercrombie’s marketing, fat kids aren’t cool.
In fact, in a 2006 interview with Salon, the man behind the brand, Mike Jeffries, said sex sells. And skinny people are sexy.
“That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores,” he said. “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.”
Jeffries, in his late 60s, is comfortable wearing his own brand of clothes — even if he does market his line to teens. In fact, Salon writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis reports most of the people who work at Abercrombie’s 300-acre headquarters in Ohio “wear flip-flops, torn Abercrombie jeans, and either a polo shirt or a sweater from Abercrombie.”
Perhaps not the Victoria Secret kind of sexy, but Jeffries has an ideal customer in mind when marketing his brand.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he said in an interview with Salon. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
Jeffries competitors like H&M and American Eagle aren’t so exclusionary, offering XL and XXL sizes for both women and men. Abercrombie’s largest size of women’s pants are 10, while H&M offers a size 16. American Eagle pant go up to size 18.
Jeffries explained that his exclusionary approach is strictly business.
“Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he said.
Teens vow to never wear A&E
A group of students who participated in a South Carolina weight loss academy posted a video in response to Jeffries’ comments. After losing 70, 80, 100 pounds, the students vowed to never shop at Abercrombie & Fitch.
Does Abercrombie excite you? Or are you turned off by their marketing approach? Sound off on our Facebook page or leave us a comment in the section below.