You can stuff your exclusive 'thin' and 'beautiful' club, Abercrombie and Fitch - I don't want to join

I find your garments Sloaney, uninspiring, overpriced and generally far, FAR too beige

Share
Related Topics

Having worked in the fashion industry for many years (I’m a former model) I have noticed its tendency to take itself far too seriously.

The notion of ‘exclusivity’ went hand in hand with ‘aspiration’ back in my catwalk days and it was therefore considered paramount that the sight of designer garments should leave your average person feeling vaguely suicidal with inadequacy.

Mercifully, a bit of a revolution happened. The people stood up and demanded that life should NOT be a choice between moulding one’s body into the shape of a pre-determined blu-print in order to be able to squish into lovely things, or wearing a floor length potato sack and clogs carved out of bubble wrap. We vented our righteous anger and declared that we wanted to be stylish at any shape or size. The high street listened and is now festooned with ranges for the larger of bust, rounder of tummy, fuller of hip, longer or shorter of leg or the pregnant of belly so that they too can have access to a world which was historically closed to them. Fashion at long last has issued a mass invitation for us all to join the party and we have RSVP-ed with gusto.

Fashion should be FUN, a way for everyone to express their individuality. It shouldn’t be an exclusive club, populated solely by six foot, size 0 genetic rarities, metaphorical bouncers at the door screaming ‘no fatsos!’ as they patrician off the bounty of twinkling glamour beyond with the twisted red rope of shame. But I attended far too many earnest champagne receptions in the late nineties full of people solemnly discussing their ‘art form’ and how ‘curves simply RUIN the line of the garment, darling’ to know that not everyone shares my point of view.

I thought that the majority of those laughably elitist opinions were withering and fading into the fashion mist. That was until yesterday, when it was reported that Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries allegedly said that they only wanted “thin and beautiful” customers.

In an interview with Business Insider, Robin Lewis, a retail industry analyst and co-author of The New Rules of Retail, suggested Jeffries "doesn't want his core customers to see people who aren't as hot as them wearing his clothing".

“That's why we hire good-looking people in our stores,” Jeffries 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.” He went on: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids...Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

I think they have confused the 'down with the kids tone' with 'garments which can only be worn by kids'. Even that’s pushing it – I recently witnessed a not-at-all-unusually plump eight year old weeping because she couldn’t squeeze herself into an Abercrombie & Fitch top. You only have to empirically experience one of their garments to glean that Abercrombie’s ideal customer would be a slight-of-bone pre-pubescent with the metabolism of a whippet with an overactive thyroid.

However, that’s not even really the issue. Tiny people need somewhere to shop too and me and my Amazonian disposable income have myriad alternative options.

The offensive part, if true, is that those words carry the insinuation that “thin” is automatically synonymous with “beautiful”.  If this is all, as I suspect, an elaborate marketing ploy to push even more snooty people with delusions of body-specific grandeur through the doors of Abercrombie, then that’s simply a bit annoying. But if Abercrombie genuinely believe that promotion of thinness puts their finger on the pulse of youth, they are far less in touch with the ‘kids’ than their marketing spiel would suggest. ‘The kids’ are not only embarking on a love affair with curves (which comes with its own unique set of challenges, the naturally slender now being bullied and ostracised in many British schools) but ‘the kids’ are getting taller and consequently bigger with each generation.

So here’s my advice to Abercrombie & Fitch. You not wanting me in your store doesn’t impact my life in any way. I find your garments Sloaney, uninspiring, overpriced and generally far, FAR too beige. I could cut some holes in a piece of hemp and probably approximate something akin to the rows and rows of ‘hot’ pants you have lining your shelves, should the need strike.

But if you want to stay in business, you’re going to have to stop living in the past. Everything from your pouty, mirthless semi naked ‘live models’ to your retro body attitudes are just so utterly passé, darlings.

Abercrombie & Fitch were contacted for comment, but are yet to respond.

Natasha will be presenting a lecture at the London College of Fashion next Wednesday 15th May at 6pm as part of their 'wellbeing' series.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
One 200ml bottle of codeine linctus contains three times the equivalent level of morphine you'd get in casualty if you broke your wrist  

The ‘war on drugs’ consistently ignores its greatest enemy: over-the-counter painkillers

Janet Street-Porter
The author contemplating what could have been  

I was a timid, kind, gentle-natured child, later to be spurned and humiliated – in short, the perfect terrorist-in-waiting

Howard Jacobson
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable