“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he says. “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.”
It’s not surprising that Abercrombie excludes plus-sized women considering the attitude of CEO Mike Jeffries, said Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail and CEO of newsletter The Robin Report.
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis told Business Insider. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.'”
Since the comments went viral, an online campaign to undermine A&F’s “cool kids” image has gained steam. Los Angeles-based writer Greg Karber launched the campaign, which uses the hashtag #FitchTheHomeless, in a video posted to YouTube on Monday.
“I was really upset by the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO’s comments, and I wanted to do something to turn that negative energy into a positive social good,” Karber told Mashable in an email.
Karber encourages viewers to donate their Abercrombie & Fitch clothing to a local homeless shelter, and then share what they’re doing on social media.
His goal? To make Abercrombie & Fitch “the world’s number one brand of homeless apparel.”