Friday, 24 May 2013

Fitch The Homeless

In the UK we are perhaps fortunate that Abercrombie & Fitch are a little-known brand. They have a certain noteriety as that shop that employs models to stand outside its flagship Mayfair store and lure in the unwary. Their diffusion Hollister brand is becoming more of a feature in our shopping malls--the stores are dark and loud, perhaps to make it more difficult to see their inflated price tags and kick up a fuss.
In the States, however, A&F are everywhere, and not for the right reasons. They have a highly skewed perception of the market at which they aim: in short, they have a "no fatties" rule. I'm not kidding. They only stock jeans to a 34" waist, a policy explicitly implimented and defended by CEO Mike Jeffries.
Now things are blowing up even further, as a comment by an un-mamed store manager has emerged. He is on record as saying:
“Any clothing that has any type of blemish, including things such as a stitch missing or a frayed fabric, gets sent back to the company for immediate disposal. Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t want to create the image that just anybody, poor people, can wear their clothing. Only people of a certain stature are able to purchase and wear the company name.”
Hoo boy. Now, there's nothing wrong with quality control, or wishing to attract a certain level of customer. But A&F seem to enjoy rubbing people up the wrong way. It's as if they've seen the growing trend of conscious, socially-responsible clothes stores and thought, "Nope, that's not the image we want to portray at all. We want to be callous douchebags."
This blatantly uncaring attitude is primed to backfire, and the guy to do it is film-maker Greg Karber. He scours goodwill and charity stores for A&F branded clothing (say what you like about the PR, but the clothes are well-made) and gives them to the homeless in East LA, home (if that's the right word) to one of the largest transient populations in the US. His goal? To make Abercrombie & Fitch "the world's number one brand of homeless apparel."
He urges us to dig out any A&F clothing, donate them to shelters, and share the result on social media using the hashtag #FitchTheHomeless.
Personally, I wouldn't be seen dead in a A&F or Hollister, but I applaud this delightful piece of direct action. Check out the video before to find out more.

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