Since, you know, the internet is an open forum, I figured I'd throw in my two cents about the Abercrombie CEO's rather insensitive comments about the type of customer he'd like to see in his stores or wearing his clothes.
After what I remember as a few great years in public grade school, I spent a couple murderous ones in a private middle school. I'm not sure there's anybody meaner in the world than sixth-grade girls, and the worst part is that they're just getting smart at that age, so they know how to bully without really "bullying." It's the sort of thing that's hard to stop or report because you can't quite put your finger on what they're actually doing wrong. All of this was exacerbated by the uniforms.
Uniforms were apparently devised as an anti-distraction measure, and as a great equalizer. Nope. The fact that everybody dressed ALMOST the same made the little details stand out. The detail I'm talking about in particular is the one that appears on the chest of every name-brand polo shirt. A little animal. Those moose and eagles and butterflies and polo ponies and oarsmen made me miserable because my shirts were from Walmart, so they were blank. And everybody knew it. We were like tiny walking billboards for how much money our parents had.
I understand what that Abercrombie guy is saying. I truly do: it makes sense that he's targeting a particular demographic. That's what good businesspeople do. And every store is discriminatory to some extent. I've worked in a high-end store and a more all-American store, and I can tell you that every store is hiring people in part for what they look like. Everybody does it, just not everybody is that forward about it. I knew a girl who looked like she walked out of a J.Crew catalogue who tried to apply for a job at Hot Topic. They laughed her out of the store. When I was working at the more mainstream, casual store, a girl came in for an interview wearing a suit. Professional and impressive, but she didn't get the job. They didn't want people who would wear suits.
So I guess my rather scattered point is that what this guy is saying is nothing new. Every store tries to appeal to a certain group. I think it encourages individuality. What bothers me is that what he seems to be doing is eliminate the tolerance for people who are different. Every middle schooler in America is well-aware that there are cool kids and uncool kids. Parents and teachers are working so hard to get middle schoolers to move past those differences. I just don't think you should encourage elitism based on the fact that you have a moose on your chest where the next girl has a blank space.