Hot Topics

Trending news, culture, and entertainment from Hearst producers around the country.

Campaign uses homeless to undermine Abercrombie’s image

|
mike jeffries abercrombie and fitch CEO

Mike Jeffries talks target market. (Photo via i.imgur.com)

Angry at Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries’ exclusivity, a Los Angeles filmmaker decided to give away the brand’s clothes to the homeless.

Greg Karber caught his charity rebranding mission on video, uploaded it to YouTube and asked others to join him in the marketing effort to undermine the company’s uppity image.

Karber’s not the only one enraged by the CEO. Hordes of social media users share the sentiment. And when the Internet’s mad, it unleashes memes with fiery vengeance.

Right now, it hates Jeffries. Something fierce. Thus, you’ll likely see the garishly nip-and-tucked 68-year-old’s face superimposed near quotes he’s made over the years about his exclusionary business practices.

“We want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” he told Slate in 2006 in an article that painted him as some Willy Wonka eccentric lording it over a sartorial utopia built on a single-minded view of male sexuality as a (preferably white) tight-bodied polo-clad frat bro.

Jeffries’ brand doesn’t bother to make XL or XXL sizes for women, though XS and XXS (was that even a size before?) abound. And he’s known for mostly hiring people who fit his ideal of beauty.

“A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes, and they can’t belong,” he’s quoted as saying in the same piece. “Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Those comments have come back to bite him. Hard. Reddit and Tumblr rediscovered those and other bon mots and, well, you know how the Internet handles. It doesn’t help that the guy’s a dead ringer for Biff Tannen.

Easily meme-ified quotes like the one pictured above so infuriated Karber that he set out on his crusade. He scoured the racks at L.A. thrift shops for the country club-lumberjack threads A&F is known for. Then, he meandered around Skid Row to pass them out to the neighborhood’s houseless residents, catching the expedition on video.

Karber’s call for help in rebranding the company’s rich-collegiate-kid image (which, really, hasn’t been relevant since the early 2000s), elicited a pretty big response. The social media movement encourages folks to share their effort to redistribute old A&F clothes (and probably prompt self-examining questions about why they bought a $79 pair of shredded jeans in the first place) by posting an Instagram snapshot, G+ post or a tweet under the hashtag #fitchthehomeless.

fitch the homeless

People are now snapping pics of the homeless donning logo-adorned T-shirts with signs scrawled with messages like, “too fat for this shirt,” or “too poor for this shirt.”

Karber’s certainly made a point, though it might be a tad condescending to street-dwellers. After all, they aren’t props, they’re people.

h/t Buzzfeed

Find Jennifer Wadsworth on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

jennlouisew@gmail.com (Jennifer Wadsworth)

Comments are closed.