Writer starts ‘Fitch the Homeless’ campaign to protest Abercrombie & Fitch’s ‘cool kid’ policies

Abercrombie & Fitch logoThe clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch received extra attention this week when a Los Angeles writer started an online campaign to rebrand the company’s “exclusionary” reputation. The writer’s pitch: Making A&F “the world’s number one brand of homeless apparel.”

Greg Karber started the “FitchTheHomeless” campaign in an attempt to undermine the company’s “cool kid” and “holier than thou” persona. He released a video on YouTube Monday, which shows him scouring a Goodwill store for A&F clothes and then handing them out to the homeless on the streets of East Los Angeles; the video has since received more than 1.2 million hits.

Reportedly, when A&F items are damaged, the store is required to burn them instead of selling them at discount or donating them to the homeless.

Karber’s campaign has received mixed reviews from viewers. Some have lauded him for doing “something to turn that negative energy into a positive social good,” as he told Mashable in an email. Others have rejected the way that Karber went about the campaign, accusing him of simply using the homeless to make a point rather than genuinely helping them out.

“The irony is that, you did to the homeless, what A&F did to the uncool kids. You used them as an example of the lowest people you could find to pull off your trashing of A&F,” reads a comment on the video’s YouTube page.

Controversy over the company’s branding is nothing new. In 2006, A&F CEO Mike Jeffries implied in an article for Salon magazine that the company only markets to “cool and popular kids,” excluding the “the not-so-popular kids”.

“In every school there are cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told Salon’s Benoit Denizet-Lewis. “Candidly, 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.”

Earlier this month Business Insider published an article discussing the company’s refusal to sell X-large and XXL-sized clothing for women – apparently for a similar reason – they don’t want uncool, fat people in their clothes.

“He [Mike Jeffries] doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Robin Lewis, the co-author of The New Rules of Retail and CEO of The Robin Reporttold Business Insider. “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’.”

Watch the “FitchTheHomeless” video below:

Comments

6 Responses to “Writer starts ‘Fitch the Homeless’ campaign to protest Abercrombie & Fitch’s ‘cool kid’ policies”

  1. M. Smith says:

    But, FUBU marketing to only black people is OK, right?

  2. Meghan says:

    I thought it was insulting. The homeless is not a tool for marketing, and there are items that they actually need that they are not going to receive from this campaign.

  3. Faith says:

    This campaign is offensive & dehumanizing. Even writers who may disagree about many things (a feminist blogger & a conservative Catholic) agree that this video is offensive in tone & content:

    “SO listen. Grab all your Abercrombie & Fitch clothes. Donate them to a shelter. Donate other stuff, too. That part of the video isn’t such a bad thing. But understand that a real, ethical protest doesn’t throw anyone under the bus in order to achieve its goal — especially not the most disenfranchised groups among us. There are ways this kind of protest could have gone down without legitimizing stigma. Stigma could have been intentionally used to mock both A&F and the stigma itself.” – Stacy Bias

    “The emphasis over the past few days/weeks since Jeffries’ statements hit the media has been on the “cool kids vs. not-so-cool kids” – so identifying the homeless as the “not-so-cool kids” that Jeffries intends to exclude only reinforces the stigma already applied to homeless people. It makes homeless people the butt of a joke, and that’s not ok.” – Rachel Bunting

    “This stunt is based on the exact same premise offered by Jeffries: that some people are “unworthy” to wear A&F clothes. The hipster doofus handing out A&F clothing to people on the street is doing it because he accepts the notion that they’re somehow lesser than “the rest of us.” His stunt has no bite without this assumption.” – Thomas L. McDonald

  4. sonsern says:

    Many believe that the whole idea of #fitchthehomeless is degrading because the homeless people are being used to contrast the idea of cool. The attempt to #fitchthehomeless looks down upon homeless people as “unworthy,” or lesser human beings. And it’s not clear how or whether, from the homeless perspective, this stunt is actually helping anything.

    P1124 is another company in contention for the title of no. 1 brand of the homeless. P1124 has started a “Wear One, Share One” campaign to clothe the same group homeless people on Skid Row. But unlike the #fitchthehomeless movement, whose goal is to shame Abercrombie without regard to the wellbeing of the homeless, P1124’s goal is to uplift and bless the homeless. The “Wear One, Share One” Campaign is simple; buy one shirt, get two, one to wear, one to share. The goal is to #uplifthehomeless, and show them that they are worthy of receiving the same new clothes that we purchase for ourselves.

    Very interesting… P1124 is currently raising funds on indegogo, check it out: http://goo.gl/nQ1lH

  5. Beth says:

    I heard about this story first thing this morning. After dropping off my kids, I came right home to see and read about what was going on with Fitch the Homeless. I am a mother of 2 that wouldn’t under A&F CEO Jeffries be wanted to be seen in A&F clothing. I have watched the video, have read some articles and comments about the situtation at hand. I don’t agree with Jeffries. I do understand Karber’s point. I will have to argue the one point that seems to be coming up. The homeless vs. the cool kids. Really? I read the comment: “The irony is that, you did to the homeless, what A&F did to the uncool kids. You used them as an example of the lowest people you could find to pull off your trashing of A&F,” Again Really?? Comparing the homeless to the lowest people? Here, I will help you to understand. After what Jeffries said about A&F clothing being for “cool kids” ect.,Karber, is speaking out and standing up. I think the reason Karber choose the homless wasn’t for the fact as the comment said “the lowest people you could find”, but was to find thoses in need that didn’t fit the target group A&F is so proud to want and have. It brings back focus to society’s ideology and maybe, just maybe bring some help to our own citizens who are in need.

  6. J. Hudson says:

    Never purchased anything from these people, never will, just like fubu and nike. If I were to purchase some of these items and give them to the homeless, I am sure that a certain type would be robbing and killing the poor homeless just for their clothing. Why make them a target?

Leave a Reply

Maher tells PC liberals 'shut the f up'

Bill Maher's politics are not always the greatest. But when it comes to knocking down the liberal PC brigade, he is on point like no other.

SNL parodies Starbucks' race campaign

What if another company--say, Pep Boys (or Girls! Or Whatever!)--took on their own campaign to talk about gender and sexual identity?

SNL's "The Rock" Obama goes beast-mode

Dwayne Johnson hosted SNL last night, so naturally he had to play a muscled-up Obama, who can finally do all the things he really wants—like throw John Boehner through a window and rip of Tom Cotton’s hand.

Devo does not want Scalise to 'Whip It'
A founding member of the 1980s band Devo really does not want to see House Majority Whip Steve Scalise “Whip It Good.” Scalise has been using the bands hit song “Whip It” at events and his staff recently created a joint fundraising committee with Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to raise money for a 1980s-themed birthday party […]
Jon Stewart rips Democrats for race-bait

“Oh, for f---s sake.”

White House

Carly Fiorina says there’s a ‘higher than 90 percent chance’ she’s running for president

Carly Fiorina’s 2016 campaign is all but certain now—and she’s making no secret as to whom she’ll be targeting.

White House promises not to use legal loophole to keep NSA spying alive if Patriot Act expires
If the Patriot Act expires, it will stop the National Security Agency’s bulk spying too. The Obama administration promised this week that it will not take advantage of a legal loophole to keep the NSA spying alive unless Congress re-authorizes the Patriot Act, Reuters reported. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the NSA to collect data on […]
In honor of National Puppy Day, here are the top 10 cutest presidential puppies

Today is National Puppy Day! To celebrate, we give you the top ten cutest puppies to grace the White House Lawn.

Obama: ‘By hook or by crook’ I’ll push my agenda through
This is probably not the smartest phrasing to use. President Obama had an interview with Huffington Post over the weekend and while much of the interview was his oft-repeated lines about how Republicans are the reason nothing is getting done in Washington, he added a new phrase about his legacy that is bound to raise […]
Obama tells Prince Charles that Americans like the royal family better than their own politicians

President Obama has admitted what we all already knew: Americans far prefer the Duchess of Cambridge to Michelle.

Congress

Sen. Harry Reid will not seek re-election
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, the wily Nevadan who dominated the Senate for a decade from the minority to the majority and back again, announced Friday he will retire after five terms. Reid, 75, who shepherded key Obama administration initiatives including the president’s health care law, lost his role as majority leader — […]
Schock: Lincoln faced challenges too
Embattled Rep. Aaron Schock (R- Ill.) gave his farewell speech on the House floor Thursday, promising that it was “not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new chapter.” While his own trials are more of the “Downton Abbey” decor and Katy Perry concert variety, Schock likened this tough time to that […]
Boehner, Pelosi read mean tweets
Taking a cue from Jimmy Kimmel’s famous “Mean Tweets” series, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) got in on the fun and read some mean tweets about themselves in a video for the 2015 Radio & Television Correspondents Association […]
GOP blocks Warren's student loan plan
THE HILL — Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an effort by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to attach an amendment aimed at lowering student loan rates to the budget. Senators voted 46-53 against Warren’s amendment to the Republican budget resolution. Warren’s amendment would have allowed people with college loan debt to refinance at interest rates from […]
Rand really liked those 'Stand with Rand' trolls

During Ted Cruz's big announcement at Liberty University yesterday--which students were required to attend--some Rand Paul supporters decided to troll Cruz with some "Stand with Rand" shirts: