Recently, Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch is taking heat for comments he made about his brand.
During an interview with Business Insider on Friday, Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, claimed that Jeffries, “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people. He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.'”
In a 2006 interview with Salon, Jeffries said,
“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.”
“good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,”
Bloggers, Moms and some of Abercrombie & Fitch’s customers are up in arms about these comments. I, on the other hand, am thrilled to have this insider’s perspective. And I think many brands share his view. Now the fashion industry makes sense to me! I’ve wondered why so many designer brands and boutiques only carry sizes up to an 8 or 10…now I finally get it! It’s because they and their customers don’t want to be associated with a woman my size. If I were to wear their pieces, I would be a detriment to their brand and undermine their status. They see me as a threat to their market-share.
Up until now I’ve been all wrong about this…thinking that they don’t understand how to flatter the fatter, or that they are more concerned with their art than with my options. Finally I know the truth, they don’t want me.
Whew! Now I can relax and just ignore any brand that is only available in size 00 to 10 (where the 10 is really an 6 or 8). I can feel great about just investing my money, klout and media “currency” with brands that want me! There’s no need to invest energy trying to show the exclusive brands the huge market they are missing (no pun intended, 67% of customers are now plus size) or try to assist them in making flattering clothing so they can tap into this market that is hungry for fashionable flattering clothing.
I appreciate the brands that embrace me even more. I no longer feel like I’m missing out on something. With the assistance of my tailor, I can make anything off the rack look like a designer piece that flatters my figure and supports my self esteem.
Thank you Mr. Jeffries. You freed my mind!
While I was appalled at the tackiness of Mr. Jeffries’ shallow, yet clunky, statements describing his strategy for targeting his most desirable customers, I had a response similar to yours. Fine, Mister! If you don’t want my business, you just saved me a lot of time.
I think each business does need to decide whom to target. You can’t please everyone. However, it might be nice to try to not be a dick, and just piss people off. That seems like a short-sighted approach.
Hi MaryBeth, Agreed! Every business owner/brand has the right (and needs to) know their customer and decide who their perfect customer is. I don’t mind Mr. Jeffries attitude, I’m just glad to know I’m not his customer and can take his brands off my shopping list. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! – Sarah