Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Abercrombie: Discrimination or Preference?

Abercrombie settles race case for $40 million (cnn.com)

So that's the verdict... but I still ask myself: Is it discrimination or preference (what they call selling an image)? Afterall, in the world of fashion, you're as likely to find a 5'2" stocky, black female model walking down the runway for Calvin Klien as a smart, sane voter in Ohio (ouch!). Hmm.. I wonder how this will affect their catalogue - they seemed to have already stopped their popular skank-xxx material (which I loved btw).

Throughout highschool (and college), I've always wanted to work for A&F. What could be better than getting paid to look pretty while folding a washed-out, overpriced t-shirt? Have customer oogle at you while throwing a football, or panties, over the throphy moose head. I knew I belonged there: the elusive group of hot, muscular guys indifferent to customers and lack any sense of customer service.

Problem was I was a lanky asian boy with glasses. I wasn't hot (but I was cute); I wasn't muscley (but I was fit), and I wasn't white (but I was yellow... wait..) Because of this, my application was probably placed at the bottom of the pile. So I did what anyone with low self-esteem being rejected from their dream job would do in my situation... I got hotter (with my new hairstyle and a spanking new pair of glasses), I got more muscular (okay, I didn't), and I got hired by Banana Republic and J.Crew.

And I got paid more (a lot more).

Related: The Look Of Abercrombie & Fitch (cbsnews.com)


Holding said...

It's true what you say. Is it discrimination or preference? Where do we draw the line? Is it discrimination that only those with law degrees can be lawyers? It coul be argued that this is elitist and discriminatory. Abercrombie sell clothes. Very ordinary clothes at that, but to sell clothes, you need a sterotypically attractive set of models. Is it discriminatory? I don't know. If their target demographic is white, anglo teenagers whose hormones drive the direction of their wallets, then Abercrombie is doing the same as McDonald's does for kids... attracts them.

I'm not sure what to make of all this. Then again, we don't have Abercrombie in Australia.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

i work at Abercrombie. hooters only hires pretty girls with big boobs but i don't see you complaining about that. everybody just makes a big deal about not being able to work at abercrombie bc it's considered "cool" to work there. it's not really. all we do is stand around and complain about everyone. we just look hot doing it :)

Anonymous said...

Now thinking about it, it makes sense, but doesn't justify what the employers did to the employees. (Telling a girl who was black that she was not allowed to wear blonde streaks. What?!)

It's kind of like hip hop/urban style clothing. Though, with fashion lines like BabyPhat targeting the urban community, Kimora Lee Simmons seems to include different ethnicities on her line/runway, so what does Abercrombie have to say?

I think that Abercrombie is trying to portray an America that never was and never will be. America is not a "one-race-country", despite what the midwest and south would like, America is made up of many races, ethnicities and cultures. So Abercrombie should re-think their strategies.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

I'm glad you're able to reassure yourself that it isn't cool to work at Abercrombie. I wouldn't be so sure about the reassure yourself that you're "hot" though. Abercrombie is superficial and disgusting. I've been approached and offered jobs but have not so respectfully declined. People that worship their attitudes and lifestyles only perpetuate their ridiculous mentality. I own one piece of clothing from Abercrombie: a shirt that says "Who's the man?" I bought it in Costa Rica at a thrift store for 75 cents--How's that for stickin it to "the man?" Ew, Abercrombie. Ew.