I wanted to write a post on spring and our decision to plant tomatoes but no, I couldn't help it. I had to write this post instead. Last night I read this letter written by an American mother, who is irritated about the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch does not carry sizes larger than ten.
This is the reason the CEO of A&F gave in 2006: "In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids... 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. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don't alienate anybody, but you don't excite anybody, either."
|Why not me?|
Mr. Jeffries could have not expressed his marketing strategy in better words. The target group and lifestyle description above makes A&F competitive and this is all it matters to Abercrombie & Fitch. Marketing is war. You put together a strategy and you implement it to destroy your competitor. So, well done Mr. Jeffries for doing such good job in creating an aspirational brand.
Absolutely, I totally agree with the fact that no one should be discriminated against. However, I don't think we should go the opposite way of accepting and encouraging unhealthy behavior with the excuse that we all live in a free country that makes us identical. Since I arrived in the US, I have been faced with politically correct statements and a huge amount of euphemism regarding the issue of large sizes. All this is ridiculous and it gets on my nerves. I believe it is as wrong to encourage people to be skinny top models as it is wrong to constantly forgive people for eating unhealthy food and for believing that being obese is not a problem and that it does not at all mean "being unhealthy".
I come across obese people here in Boston on daily basis. I often look at what they are eating or purchasing and guess what? The healthiest thing I ever saw in front of them is a salad filled with bacon and blue cheese. Is anybody wondering who is going to help these people learn how to eat? No.
In Italy, it is ok to say to children that if they eat fast-food, snacks and sweets or sugary drinks instead of lunch, they will become as FAT as a pig (yes FAT in capital letters). And I often say this to my child. In Italy, we believe that it is important to point this out, CLEARLY and LOUDLY to everyone. And we believe IT IS NOT OK to ask society to make obese people feel good about themselves and believe they are healthy. It is hypocritical and it is not helping the obese people acknowledge that they have a problem that needs addressing and that they should do something about it, for themselves and for their children.
Considering the appalling state of the diet in the American schools, I believe it would make more sense to blame the schools and the restaurants for teaching future Americans how to become obese than to blame a clothing store that, in order to be competitive, has to tailor its clothes for a specific target group.
Final thought. Instead of asking the clothing companies to carry larger sizes why don't we invite them to join the campaign "Let's teach America how to eat"? Just a thought.