While researching my book, I did some reviews of national stores on the local level. This included dragging my friends to many mall trips. Mostly I looked at the bigger department stores and the smaller plus size stores. I already knew that most of the smaller stores especially the trendy/chic ones didn’t carry plus sizes or like H&M carried had them in microscopic ghettos. One place I went into, I looked at the high prices and the tiny sweaters and walked out without a word.
On one mall trip, my friend dragged me over to the very good looking male model in front of Abercrombie and Fitch (A&F). The model was a sweet young man who was nice to me the fat girl and my friend with a thin body and nerdy glasses.
I didn’t go into A&F because I didn't have to ask if they had plus sizes. The buff men and thin women adored on the store made me realize this store was for thin people only especially thin women. I’ve many times been dragged into thin people only stores where I noticed women’s clothes rarely go to large and men can go to XXL meaning these stores cater to fat men by accident because they really want muscular ones.
The CEO of A&F has said they don’t make clothes for fat people because they make clothes for cool people and fat people are not cool. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “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."
Believe it or not I admire his honesty. Almost all of these stores aimed at the young and trendy carry small sizes and I don’t mean just Junior Miss sizes, I mean small sizes. Even stores with sizes up to 16, such as the Gap are a rare animal with an abundant amount of extra smalls. These stores fear that if fat people wore their clothes it would no longer be considered trendy except forgetting that 2/3 of the people of the US are considered fat. I assume the inflated prices marketed to niche stereotypes is enough to keep them afloat.
But I was talking about A&F. I could point out all the terrible things they have done : the sweatshops, Discrimination, the Sexualization of pre-teens and their refusal to donate excess clothes to poor people.
Instead I will talk about not being in the cool club. At no time in my life was I ever in the "cool" club. I don't have styled hair, do my eye brows, get regularly mani-pedis, I barely shave, I don't wear trendy clothes (I wear clothes because I like them), only occasionally wearing some freakier outfits because I need a change. My worst offense is refusing to try to lose weight.
You see, being trendy, the fitting in into a tiny cookie cutter, is something I have always refused to do. I refused to be told what to like or wear. Sure clothing shopping has become a disaster and I'm certain I've lost getting a job being a hairy fat-ass, but I despise the idea of being someone I'm not. I've gotten several troll comments that I play sour grapes, that I really want to be thin but it isn't true.
Not only A&F is labeling the "uncool" kids but the people who wear their clothes as vapid, mean bullies which I am sure they are not. I don’t believe it of the nice male model outside the store. He is not vapid, I am not a label.
Of course just because this fool has no power over me, doesn't mean he can say mean things without consequences.
But (Robin, author of the A&F book the quote comes from ) Lewis says it's a model that may not fit the future. Plus-sized shoppers now make up 67 percent of consumers.
"I think the young people today want cool, but as they define it themselves," Lewis said.
From Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign - highlighting real women - to H&M's inclusion of plus-sized swimsuit model Jennie Runk, many other brands are embracing that individualism and making their clothes more accessible. For example, rival retailers H&M and American Eagle both carry sizes up to 16 and 18. The largest at Abercrombie & Fitch is a 10.
I urge people of all sizes not to buy anything from Abercrombie and Fitch, no clothes, no accessories, nothing. And if you have A&F clothes, be sure to donate them to the poor or a fat chick. I might wear one of these tiny tee shirts as a tank tube.