The new scandal in fashion industry these latter weeks was the words of Mark Jeffries (Abercrombie & Fitch CEO) in an interview by Business Insider. Indeed, the CEO doesn’t hide the goal for his brand: to have a perfect image. He wants beautiful people in his ads, beautiful people in his stores.
As we know, in the US high schools and colleges people are categorized: the popular ones, the athletes, the eggheads, the geeks… That is quite annoying because we have to be in a box even if we don’t really want to belong to only one category and to be judged because of a characteristic we have which doesn’t define our entire personality. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids”, said Jeffries in 2006. “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. » This speech can seem to be very hard but it’s also very honest.
« 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’ » said Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail and CEO of newsletter The Robin Report.
It can be seen as a targeting, a real marketing strategy for the company. They want young, thin and sexy customer. And to be attractive, Abercrombie & Fitch put the perfect models in their stores.
Here, we can see the opening of the Parisian store in the Champs-Elysées. A bench of brawny and topless male models was just in front of the shop to create the buzz and to be seen. Of course, it firstly attracts women who ask for pictures with them, but in a second time guys are also interested of what it’s happening. They are amused and they want to discover the clothes of the brand which could make them look as handsome as these models.
This choice to intentionally sell clothes only in small sizes (the largest women’s pants is a size 10) goes against the tendency to extend some ranges to bigger sizes quite rare in popular stores even recently. For example, H&M standard collection goes up to a size 16 and American Eagle to a size 18.
When anorexia in fashion is a longstanding fighting and misleading advertising with photo retouching is denounced, are these words a good idea for the brand? To have a specific targeting and to be honest on his marketing strategy, is it a smart decision from Mark Jeffries?
What do you think about that? Does it change your appreciation of the brand Abercrombie & Fitch?