As some of you may already know, a lot of hubub has been swirling around comments made by Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries, who is arguably the internets most hated man of the moment. Jeffries has caused plenty of controversy over the years by making outlandish statements that his brand only markets to slim, conventionally attractive people because they only want 'cool' kids wearing their clothes - to the point where the brand doesn't donate any old or faulty stock, because it's not cool for the disadvantaged to be wearing A&F. They also refuse to make any womens plus sized items, because apparently being curvy just ain't cool by Jeffries standards (who, by the way, isn't exactly a vision of perfection himself...)
Now, I found this pretty damn sickening (and I hope I'm not the only one), so I was pretty stoked when I stumbled across an open letter accompanied by some very effective advertisement re-imaginings created by Jes of The Militant Baker, and I've decided to share some of my favourite parts.
"As a preface: Your opinion isn't shocking; millions share the same sentiment. You've used your wealth and public platform to echo what many already say. However, it’s important you know that regardless of the numbers on your tax forms, your comments don't stop anyone from being who they are; the world is progressing in inclusive ways whether you deem it cool or not. The only thing you've done through your comments (about thin being beautiful and only offering XL and XXL in your stores for men) is reinforce the unoriginal concept that fat women are social failures, valueless, and undesirable. Your apology doesn't change this"
"Never in our culture do we see sexy photo shoots that pair short, fat, unconventional models with not short, not fat, professional models. To put it in your words: "unpopular kids" with "cool kids". It's socially acceptable for same to be paired with same, but never are contrasting bodies positively mixed in the world of advertisement. The juxtaposition of uncommonly paired bodies is visually jarring, and, even though I wish it didn’t, it causes viewers to feel uncomfortable. This is largely attributed to companies like yours that perpetuate the thought that fat women are not beautiful. This is inaccurate, but if someone were to look through your infamous catalog, they wouldn't believe me."
"A note: I didn't take these pictures to show that the male model found me attractive, or that the photographer found me photogenic, or to prove that you're an ostentatious dick. Rather, I was inspired by the opportunity to show that I am secure in my skin and to flaunt this by using the controversial platform that you created. I challenge the separation of attractive and fat, and I assert that they are compatible regardless of what you believe. Not only do I know that I'm sexy, but I also have the confidence to pose nude in ways you don’t dare. You are more than welcome to prove me wrong by posing shirtless with a hot fat chick; it would thrill me to see such a shoot."
"P.P.S. You should know your Large t-shirt comfortably fits a size 22. You might want to work on that."
If that's not stickin' it to the man, I don't know what is. While she's not the only one to speak out against Jeffrie's ridiculous comments, I applaud Jes for having the courage to stand up for what's right in such a shamelessly inventive way - I know I sure wouldn't have thought to reenact a brands campaign to show them just how wrong they are!
You can read the full letter on Jes' blog, here.
What do you think about plus size discrimination in the fashion industry ? Has A&F gone too far, or is this what we should expect from brands ? Make sure you leave a comment as I'd love to read your views on this !
'Til next time.