Abercrombie Controversy

Jessica Terrizzi, Opinion Editor

Many teens are familiar with Abercrombie and Fitch’s stylish clothes and ads that always contain attractive models. Although portraying attractive people wearing Abercrombie’s clothes is a good way of advertising, the company may be taking it too far.

The Abercrombie controversy, which recently hit every major news source, began when it was reported that Mark Jefferies, the CEO for Abercrombie, said that he wants only attractive, all-American kids with a lot of friends to wear his clothes, according to Sarah LeTrent, reporter for CNN. This explains why you will never see an overweight person on an Abercrombie ad, nor will you find any size over a size 10 or “large” in Abercrombie stores for females. (Abercrombie does sell extra-large clothes for males because, according to a report on BusinessInsider.com, guys can work out and get big and buff.) Jefferies continued by saying he and his company are too concerned with keeping up their “cool kids” look to let a majority of America’s kids and teens shop in Abercrombie stores.

Currently, obesity is an epidemic in America. A report on Teenhelp.com states that 30.4 percent of teens are overweight and 15.5 percent are obese. Though you would think that Abercrombie would try to be more accepting of this in order to appeal to the whole American teen population, it does not. Instead, it completely excludes overweight teens from being able to wear its clothes.

Some people are not happy about Abercrombie’s decision to discriminate against overweight people and are beginning to speak up. Blogger, Jes Baker, stirred up the controversy even more by posting a mock Abercrombie ad calling it “Attractive & Fat.”  By posting this, Baker was trying to get America to realize that teens don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful and that Abercrombie is wrong for excluding overweight people from buying its clothes. This response to Abercrombie’s discrimination against overweight people went viral and many people realized what Abercrombie is really about.

However, there is an even bigger controversy. Being like these models is not easy for some American teens, and the use of extremely fit and good looking models may be sending the wrong signals to them. Using these unrealistically attractive models, Abercrombie could be contributing to self-image problems in teens. Some teens may think that just because they do not look like the Abercrombie models with sculpted bodies and thin figures featured in the ads and pictures, that something is wrong with them. Having good looking models advertise their clothes is also just Abercrombie’s shallow way of selling as many clothes as possible. By showing good looking people wearing their clothes, Abercrombie is trying to make teens want to buy their clothes so they can be more like the models.  The fact remains, though, that most teenagers do not look like Abercrombie models, and this idea that something is wrong with their bodies can lead to disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or depression.

Will this controversy cause Abercrombie to change its marketing plan? No one knows for sure, but it is possible that either Abercrombie will make larger sizes in the future or, even better, maybe teens will realize that they should not fall for Abercrombie’s shallow front. This whole ordeal will hopefully show American teens that they do not have to wear Abercrombie clothes in order to be popular, cool, and attractive.