A Letter to Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries

Dear Mr. Jeffries,

Congratulations on recently making headlines with your strategy of only selling clothes to those whom you define as cool, pretty and thin: http://www.businessinsider.com/abercrombie-wants-thin-customers-2013-5#ixzz2SoRlwYlN.

You’ve certainly grabbed a lot of attention and clearly made your point.

As you said, “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. 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.”

You have every right to your opinion and your business strategy. But here’s what you apparently don’t get: most of us (people who will never set foot in your store) don’t really care whom you define as cool, and we don’t care that you won’t sell us your over-priced clothes. We see you in the same light that we saw the “cool kids” in high school.

We didn’t actually think they were all that cool. Instead, we thought they were self-absorbed and incredibly superficial.

You (as they did) base coolness on appearance, access to money and whom you associate with. Ironically, the only people who hang out with your are also people who only care about superficial appearances.

There’s no depth. There’s no empathy or compassion for others. And there’s no understanding that life is so much bigger than your very small and limited materialistic world.

In the real world, where everyone else lives, life is so much more than what size you wear, how much you paid for your clothes or all the places where your wealth will take you.

It’s about knowing that you can never count on your looks for anything and building upon your other strengths instead.

It’s about walking into a room and being appreciated for what you can contribute to the conversation rather than for what clothes you wear.

And it’s about supporting others rather than rubbing disadvantages in their faces.

Enjoy your fortune while it lasts, Mr. Jeffries, but be warned.

I’ve got two children who won’t ever buy clothes in your store.

I know their current buying habits are of no interest to you (because neither fits your definition of cool), but I think you should know who they are.

They are both very smart and don’t care whether you or anyone else thinks they are popular or cool. They just care that they are happy and making the world a better place.

Such aspirations have never required buying and wearing a certain brand of clothes.

So watch out, Mr. Jeffries. My children represent the next generation of consumers, and they have loud voices.

Sincerely,

Trina Bartlett

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a theater kid in high school, a band kid at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on May 9, 2013, in current affairs, My life, News, perspective and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. amen,
    almost reminds me of when Tommy Hilfiger went on oprah and said he didn’t want african americans to buy his products

  2. Great post! Like the cool kids in school, time changes all things. Where are they now? No longer cool – just normal folks with kids, mortgages and real lives, just like everyone else. While his clothes might appeal for a short period of time, it’s over fairly quickly. Then those cool kids go on to college and discover the fun of thrift stores or that starting in college you need to be a good person to be liked – it isn’t about what you wear anymore (if it ever was.) Like you, I have no problem with a business having a strategy, but I agree, the youth of today are changing. Since his clothes are popular only for a short time, he has to constantly market to the next group, and those groups are changing their attitudes.

    • Totally agree. Whether they say it or even make it a business strategy, there will always be people who either believe in being shallow or market to the shallowness of others.

  3. Love this, Trina. I shared a similar article with Niall today and he’s vowed to never wear Abercrombie, either. –Layne

  1. Pingback: Is the “Fitch the Homeless” Campaign a Good Idea? | the 80/20 mom

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