Tag Archives: models

Abercrombie’s plus-sized risk: Clothes not for large people

These shoppers have the right look. (October 24, 2012 - Source: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images Europe)

These shoppers have the right look.
(October 24, 2012 – Source: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images Europe)

Abercrombie brings another definition to who the “cool kids” are. In 2004, the company was sued for giving positions to white applicants versus minorities. Now, the “lifestyle concept” shop is at it again, this time attacking weight.

According to business expert Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, CEO Mike Jeffries “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people.”

This comes as no shock. The retailer is widely known for its exclusivity, toting “casual luxury” as a wearable way of life.

Jeffries told Salon in a 2006 interview, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t carry women’s sizes over large. But for men, they do stock XL and XLL  (to appeal to the “cool jocks” perhaps).

With scantily clad employees and naked models with bods of gods at the entrance of metropolitan stores, there’s no doubt A & F makes a certain statement.

In the Salon interview Jeffries goes on to explain “that’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because 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.”

A & F targets the all-American girl-next-door or prom king. Targeting teenagers with their brand, is A & F falling behind in the times? In the past 30 years, obesity in adolescence has tripled. One-third of adolescence and children are obese.

Their prime target market isn’t far behind the older cliental. 37.5 percent of adults are obese with  25.1 percent of white adult Americans being obese.

So is it a smart branding decision? Or is A & F alientating a large chunk of his customer base? After all, a sizable 67 percent of the apparel-purchasing population fit the “plus-size” label.


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Health to be shown at Fashion Week

Bravo CFDA!

This year the Council of Fashion Designers of America have set up health initiative guidelines to help raise awareness of eating disorders among young women.

The target of controversy in recent years, designers have been ridiculed for the models they send down the runway, rather than the possible faux pas they create in avant-garde pieces.

The more “voluptuous” super models of the 90s have given way to Twiggy-like inspirations in the 2000s. Designers want a walking coat hanger. Honestly, I don’t blame them. Who wants to see a piece of clothing with giant cleavage distracting from the neckline or a muffin top bulging the hem upwards?

Models are paid to have a certain body type and maintain that body type. But they must maintain it in healthy ways. I had a model friend who was 6-feet and a size zero. Her hips bones jutted out and her spine poked through her back, but she didn’t have an eating disorder. She had the runway body type. So many young girls strive for this completely unrealistic frame that only a handful of women have. 

It’s courageous for the CFDA to take on this trend of unhealthy tactics head on instead of ushering it under the rug and trying to hide any bad publicity.

And even though deterring bad publicity is probably one of the CFDA’s main concerns, it seems like they really do care about women and sending the right message through the creative and powerful medium of fashion. “We each have the power to impact the lives of women. Together, we can let the world know that diversity and Health Is Beauty are what we stand for,” Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb wrote in a letter on the CFDA’s website.

Models now have to be 16 or older to walk the runway. Providing healthy snacks and a smoke free environment during shoots and fittings are other objectives. They are also working on developing workshops on eating disorders and having models seek professional help if they have an eating disorder.

Clothes are important, but the women who wear them are far more valuable.


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