Are Abercrombie & Fitch garments the uniform of “douchebags” and “narcissistic date rapists?” That’s the satirical take of a self-styled Los Angeles writer and cultural critic in a video he made in response to allegations that the clothing brand is run by an elitist body-fascist.
Greg Karber was clearly angered after an industry analyst was quoted last week as saying that A&F doesn’t sell any women’s sizes bigger than large because, in the analyst’s words, Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries “doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people.”
The analyst’s claim was immediately tied in the media to a 2006 interview in which Jeffries famously said, “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.”
Continued the CEO, “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.”
In his video, which was posted on Monday and has more than one-million views as of Wednesday afternoon, Karber quotes Jeffries about being exclusionary and then announces that he is going to rebrand A&F by donating used A&F clothing to the homeless in Los Angeles.
Karber goes to a Goodwill, where he asks a clerk, “Where is, like, the douchebag section?” Armed with about half-a-dozen pieces of clothing, he then heads to Los Angeles’s Skid Row and starts handing out the clothing to the slightly stunned people there. Some are at first hesitant, Karber reports on the video.
“Perhaps they are hesitant to be perceived as narcissistic date rapists,” he jokes.
At the end of the video, Karber calls his mission “a huge success” and invites viewers to join him in his odyssey to make “Abercrombie & Fitch the world’s number-one homeless apparel.”
There is something off-putting to Karber’s assumption that the absolutely worst thing that could happen to A&F would be for a homeless person to wear one of its T-shirts. And, as a general rule, using the homeless to satirize corporate branding is more exploitative than it is revealing. Two people just sit there mutely as Karber drops a piece of clothing into their laps.
But we get the point.