When walking down the mall corridor, The Abercrombie & Fitch logo always stands out on huge banners featuring men’s abs in black and white. Since I already have homemade abs of my own (slightly less toned, but at least mine are in color), I assume that A&F has nothing good to offer me as I walk on by.
I’m sure most of you have seen some of the quotes resurfacing from a 2006 interview with Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch where he reportedly said, “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 important for a person who lives under the Lord’s conviction to know how to deal with A&F and the many companies like them. Don’t just want to do the right thing; want to do the right thing for the right reasons. That said, I will continue to not endorse Abercrombie & Fitch, but not because of their explicitly narrow demographic. I withhold my business from A&F because of their marketing morals, not because of their marketing ethics. As a Christian, this distinction very important to me.
Every business has a target demographic; a group of people that they want to sell stuff to. Big & Tall markets big clothes to big guys, Curves markets a comfortable workout experience to women who want to shed some pounds, and Abercrombie markets to “attractive kids.” Personally, I don’t see how targeting any particular size, shape, age, race, or gender is inherently shallow, but there’s much more to a marketing campaign than who its aimed toward.
Ephesians 4:19: Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
A&F pursues young, “cool kids” in very shallow and sexually insulting ways. It is absolutely wrong for Abercrombie (and any other company) to use sexually charged imagery to draw attention to their brand. This is the part about Abercrombie’s marketing that we should be offended by. Here are some other brands that do the same thing: AXE, Hardee’s (a.k.a Carl’s Jr.), American Apparel, PETA, etc. When I don’t support these kinds of companies, I’m doing so to avoid and discourage sexual sin, not because I’m offended that their business model isn’t begging for my patronage. Let’s deal with these companies for the right reasons (their sexual sins) not the wrong ones (whether or not they carry your jean size).
1 Thessalonians 4:3–5: God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.