Fitch The Homeless

DAHABA ALI HUSSEN takes the Fitch by the horns and orders a world-wide boycott of Abercrombie.

abercrombie abercrombie & fitch abercrombie and fitch Dahaba dahaba ali-hussen discrimin fashion fitch Gap Yah retail the fray unethical

If you’re anything like I was as a teenager, you will remember the euphoric feeling of social acceptance that fluttered in your bosom when you donned a new piece of Abercrombie and Fitch clothing.

A&F = Social dominance

A&F = Social dominance

Fourteen-year-old me threw countless tantrums and screamed “DADDY, NOW” ‘til I was hoarse, only stopping when I was able to purchase one of those coveted hoodies. It was an embarrassing phase in my adolescence, complete with teenage angst, The Fray, and a badly cut fringe.

Despite the fact that Abercrombie and Fitch’s clothing is highly unremarkable, turning millions of teenagers into polo neck wearing clones, as well as espousing a much-criticised and unethical conduct, it remains incredibly popular (the International Labour Rights even granted it a place in their Sweatshop Hall of Shame 2010 – just saying). It’s deemed unethical for many reasons, not least of which is its mission to transform its consumers into walking, ‘Gap Yah’ talking billboards.

Recently, A&F has been in the spotlight because of its controversial marketing. By targeting members of “the young and beautiful”, it alludes to an aura of exclusivity… and discrimination. There’s a lot to find frustrating about this, but it raises an interesting question: Is it the duty of fashion brands to promote an all-inclusive society?

Under fire CEO Mike Jeffries

Under fire CEO Mike Jeffries

The fashion scene is littered with tons of stick-thin locusts – I mean models. (Just kidding, I’m bitter). The sad part is that A&F is certainly not alone when it comes to retailers’ fashion-motivated discrimination. Nevertheless, one heroic individual decided to rebel against the oppressive arm of A&F by distributing all of the A&F clothing he could get his hands on to the homeless (if you haven’t seen this guy yet, take a look).

This selfless, if not insulting (take your pick) act of anarchy has caught the eyes of millions including Ellen DeGeneres who, despite lacking any fashion consciousness, deplored A&F publicly. In my mother’s words, she “slammed those mofos!”

You have to hand it to A&F marketers, though; they have the smartest lines of advertising: they promote their clothes through topless models. This ingenious method of consumer seduction hooked me onto this ridiculous craze — I even had an A&F poster in my room…he stared down moodily as I belted out ‘How to Save a Life’.

Gorgeous clothes

Gorgeous clothes

Brands like these target impressionable adolescents who may develop distorted body images. What’s more, it’s safe to say that A&F’s marketing may not be entirely ethical or moral – but if we’re challenging them, then we have equally to challenge the rest of the fashion world.

That being said, A&F is, as far as we know, the only major store that actively denies certain members of society the possibility to purchase its clothes by not stocking sizes XL or XXL – and makes a point out of it!

Personally, I recommend a coup. A worldwide boycott! Let’s occupy malls and burn down every A&F retailer – or perhaps you don’t wish for all of your hard work to transpire into a criminal record. That’s perfectly understandable, in which case, ♯Fitchthehomeless; raid your closets and donate all of the A&F pieces you find to a homeless shelter.

Alternatively, for those of you who are less attracted to active protest – the Dahabas’ of the world, the armchair activists – ramble your way momentarily to the moral high-ground, then move on and relish in the not-at-all-vapid-actually-quite-exciting world of fashion.