Nov 7, 2005

Pimpercrombie & Bitch

The clothing label I love to hate, Abercrombie & Fitch, is again in the spotlight for its insensitivity displayed in the intent to sell overpriced t-shirts to affluent, brand-conscious young adults.

The clothing chain has received criticism for selling t-shirts to girls with the following printed on them:

  • "Who needs brains when you have these?"
  • "Blondes are adored, brunettes are ignored"
  • "I make you look fat"
These shirts sparked a "girl-cott" by the Women & Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania. A spokesman for A&F said "We recognize that the shirts in question, while meant to be humorous, might be troubling to some."

Oy vey. You'd think the company would have learned its lesson by now. Or, maybe they're deliberately pushing buttons to garner publicity. Shall I channel Frist and scream "stunt"?

Back when I was still living in upstate NY, I remember A&F (a favorite among the rich, private university undergrads in Syracuse) coming under fire in 2002 for coming out with a line of t-shirts that Asian-Americans found racially insensitive. If you remember, these t-shirts featured stereotypical caricatures of the Asian man: Slanty eyes and conical rice-paddy hats. Personally, I find this most recent batch of shirts more offensive, but in Middle America, where racial equality is NOT yet a reality, these t-shirts are particularly troublesome. Captions for these shirts read:

  • "Wong Brothers Laundry Service -- Two Wongs Can Make It White"
  • "Wok-N-Bowl -- Let the Good Times Roll -- Chinese Food & Bowling"
  • "Abercrombie and Fitch Buddha Bash -- Get Your Buddha on the Floor"
A&F's PR person was quoted as saying, "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt."

Oh really.

He probably thinks all Asian women bind their feet, wear their hair in asymmetrical bobs, and have pots of freshly made green tea ready for their men by the time they get home from work. Man, I can't wait for THOSE shirts to come out.

Two words: Focus group.

My message to A&F brand sluts everywhere: Please - buy your clothing somewhere else. Their stuff is NOT that great. You can find better clothes elsewhere. Don't be a part of this stupidity.

(Photo credit: Chronicle/Paul Chinn)

1 comment:

Angie said...

You know what I find more worrying than the company having those t-shirts, is the people who would wear such crap.