Thanks to all of you who stopped by last week while I went off on my Abercrombie & Fitch rant. I think I am better now, but there is no telling when this might rear its ugly head again. For those of you who didn’t stop by, let me just tell you that I went a little nuts when I heard that Abercrombie & Fitch offered someone on “The Jersey Shores” money to NOT wear their clothes. I then went out and bought a way too small A&F shirt at Salvation Army and posted a really unflattering photo of myself in said shirt. I invited others to do the same in hopes that maybe they’d pay US not to wear their clothes. So far a few folks have said they might, and I will post them if they do, but I’ve not gotten much feedback. I warn you that this is not flattering, but you can see it here: Abercrombie & Fitch Page.
I’ve had some time to analyze why this drove me so nuts. I realize that this is most likely a publicity stunt to get people talking about this store right at school clothes shopping time. It also probably drove a lot of people to check out a crappy MTV reality show that they might not have watched otherwise. Truth be told, I was way too cheap as a parent for my kids to even ask to go into that store, and since my kids are well out of high school and buying their own clothes, it is really a moot point, but it drove me crazy nonetheless.
Abercrombie & Fitch, you have the right to sell crappy, trendy, overpriced clothes with your store name in big letters all over them. You have the right to use sexualized images of flawless young people to advertise you wares. Stupid and suggestible people on dumb reality shows have the right to buy them and wear them and do whatever they choose - drink until you throw up and black out, have random sex with each other, fight, scream, cry and urinate in any number of inapproriate places. You have the right to reap the profits when other dumb people see this and buy your clothes. What you don’t have a right to do is complain about this in an effort to distance yourself from a circumstance that you created. If parents won’t buy their kids your clothes because they don’t want their kids associated with anything the cast of “The Jersey Shores” does, to include wearing your clothes, then you need to suck it up and deal with it. You need to be happy with the customers you have, and if you are not, you need to reevaluate your corporate philosophy. If I have to take personal responsibility for my actions, you need to do the same with your brand.
That being said, I still think that there is a project here. I am tempted to buy an armload of A&F shirts at Salvation Army and either silk screen or iron on or write with marker all over them. I want to write something like “If you pay me enough, I’ll stop wearing A&F” or “Friends don’t let friends wear Abercrombie & Fitch” and then sell them at a modest price for people to wear as a statement. I want people to photograph themselves wearing their statement, and for every photo someone sends me of themselves, I will donate money to the American Cancer Society so people with real problems will benefit from this silliness. I am picturing more of a global art project with each shirt being worn and photographed on many people in many locations. Of course that will take time and effort. Do you even think it is worth the effort? I am seriously interested in your thoughts and ideas. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get off my soapbox and get back to painting a bedroom which is the closest thing to an art project I have.