Friday, May 17, 2013

Abercrombie and Fitch: Fighting Fire with Fire?

By now, everyone has heard that the Ambercrombie and Fitch owner has made statements about how he doesn't want to make clothes for fat people -- about how he admittedly has an exclusionary policy about making clothes for those who are not thin and beautiful (with much media attention to the fact that he, himself, if sort of...unaesthetic).

Okay. He's a jerk. Of course, it is his company.

But, now, some chap has made a video that people are batting around on social media amidst much praise. The guy is gathering up A&F clothes and handing them out to homeless people in an attempt to "re-brand" the line. This, in some way, is supposed to be a way of sticking it to A&F. Anyway, here's the video. I'll comment after.

I'm a little confused as to how this is supposed to be as hearwarming as the generic backing music of the video implies. What's the message, here? Is it: "Oh, yeah, Abercrombie and Fitch? You want to keep your clothes for the elite? Well, I'll show you by distributing these clothes to the scummiest, most unworthy dregs on the planet!" Is that what the message here is? If not, what is it?

I think that, before one lauches into a symbolic humanitarian quest, one ought to be careful of figuring out what message that quest sends. Is the video-maker implying that these people on the streets are the most uncool people in the world? -- the most undesirable clients on the planet?

It's a half-cocked campaign that sends a dehumanizing message about the homeless. And people are lapping it up because it has all the exterior trappings of a save the puppies campaign. Weird.

Goes to show you the power of media packaging.

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