The overarching theme of the course was popular culture, so my group wrote the "And Your Mom's a Bitch" Anti-Abercrombie manifesta. In it, we railed about how Abercrombie and Fitch was sexist, racist, classist, sizist, ablist...you get the general idea...and created stickers to sneak into fitting rooms that said things like "You are more beautiful without that," or something to that effect.
I hadn't heard of the brand until I got to college and was surrounded by people who's parents were in a higher tax bracket (or who aspired to be) than those I went to high school with. But all I had to do was see one non-catalog and witness employees in nothing but scarves, Uggs and their skivvies to know I would not be contributing to their profit-margin.
Now we find out that Abercombie banished one employee in their London store for violating their 45 page long "Look Policy." How did she violate it? With a prosthetic arm.
Fortunately, the former employee is finishing up her law degree.
But while it hasn't really been an issue not supporting A&F's ickiness, there is another clothing company which I equally abhor, but from which I own a number of t-shirts.
Granted, I have never bought anything at an American Apparel store, since I don't really need a lime green onesie. But, every single independent or socially conscious band prints their merchandise on the those oh-so-soft t-shirts and lots of independent designers do the same. So, in order to support them, I have to support Dov "Douchebag" Charney.
My list of grievances against all of this guys "alleged" ridiculousness is quite long, but here are a few highlights:
- Do we even need to bring up the ads? They aren't progressive, or edgy. They are creepy. And they will not be posted here.
- Dude has had multiple sexual harassment suits filed against him.
- They made "Legalize Gay" shirts to give to protesters against Prop 8 and have donated $17,000 worth of these shirts to different organizations, but none of the proceedes of the sales of these shirts go to help the fight for equality. That is not activism, that is advertising.
- "Sweatshop free" is a marketing ploy utilized to (successfully) kill the competition.
- Oh, but that wasn't the reason they have dropped their "sweatshop free" label. It was too "limiting" to their creepy corporate persona, "not that we're all of a sudden into sweatshops, but when we say it then everyone expects us to be a charity, and that we can't like maybe be a little bit porno and, like, something that's not politically correct." Glad we are clear on that.
*Try to think of it as a historical document and not just, "you crazy, lady!" Though she might have been just a little of that, too.