Friday, November 04, 2005
Does this Fit to a "T"?
Have you seen the latest fashion statements from Abercrombie & Fitch? That’s not a metaphor. A&F has a fresh line of slogan T-shirts for girls that are eliciting nervous chuckles from some and have hatched a “girl-cott” for the store by a group in Allegheny County, PA.
What could possibly be wrong with a t-shirt slogan?
Would you want your teenaged—or college-aged daughter prancing around in a t-shirt that sports this phrase across the chest: “Who Needs a Brain when you Have These?” Another one says, “I Had a Nightmare I was a Brunette,” and then there’s the T that reads “Available for Parties” across the front.
Yeah, great packaging.
Abercrombie is no stranger to criticism. There was the 2003 catalog with photos of topless women and bottomless men which provoked so much ire that the company pulled the publication. Remember last year's U.S. Olympic gymnastics team failing to win a gold medal? Right on cue, A&F sold T-shirts with the phrase "L is for loser" next to a picture of a gymnast on the rings. Those shirts were pulled from the racks after USA Gymnastics called for a boycott.
I think I'd have seen the Olympic Wrestling Team over for a little attitude adjustment at A&F.
While Abercrombie backed down then, it’s not now. Their defense: "Our clothing appeals to a wide variety of customers. These particular T-shirts have been very popular among adult women to whom they are marketed." In other words, if A&F prints them, girls will buy them.
The irony is this: with the controversy comes attention—media attention—and that’s what it’s all about for Abercrombie & Fitch. Controversial marketing. Packaging. Image: Concepts with personal applications that should be more fully developed before trying on such slogan shirts.
Young girls wishing to be trendy with an A&F slogan shirt that’s somewhat demeaning to the fairer sex might be initiating a trend they cannot reverse.