Fashion, Lookbook

I don’t think Abercrombie & Fitch is being sincere

Is this a marketing strategy or sincere effort? 

Neelam Gill, a British-Indian model, has just announced that she has been named the newest face of clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch:

Neelam first made headlines when she became the first Indian woman to grace a Burberry ad in 2013.

The development comes shortly after the brand announced its intentions to revamp its image, a tactic coming after experiencing a recent decline in sales. Clothes hitting the racks will be more modern, featuring minimalist styles and patterns, with a lesser focus on ostentatious branding and more on timeless quality.

[bctt tweet=”Neelam first made headlines when she became the first Indian woman to grace a Burberry ad in 2013. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

The campaign is also scaling back on its sexually exploitative advertising.

Neelam took to social media to express her excitement:

Senior Vice President of Marketing Craig Bommers said: “Although we are still on a journey of change, we feel that we have made developments in our brand creative, and this shoot starring Neelam Gill has been a step forward for us.”

This “journey of change” is coming after establishing its reputation for sexual imagery, body-shaming, and homogenized models/employees.

[bctt tweet=”It’s no secret that Abercrombie’s track record includes countless controversies.” username=”wearethetempest”]

It’s no secret that Abercrombie’s track record includes countless controversies, lawsuits, and cringe-worthy comments from former CEO Michael Jeffries.


[image source]

Jeffries repeatedly soiled the brand during his 17-year tenure as CEO. Some of his outrageous comments included the time when he said they exclusively hired “good-looking people…because good looking people attract other good looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”

He also openly admitted to being “absolutely” exclusionary and that they “go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in Abercrombie’s clothes], and they can’t belong.”

And if you need more proof as to why Abercrombie’s past is so problematic, a quick Google search for “Abercrombie controversy” yields about 350,000 search results.

Personally, I have never shopped at Abercrombie. I’ve never even stepped foot in one, despite the temptation I faced in middle school, a time when everyone’s standard uniform included a ribbed henley, dark wash jeans, and chestnut-colored UGGS. You know what I mean.

[bctt tweet=”Personally, I have never shopped at Abercrombie.” username=”wearethetempest”]

And let’s not forget the store itself: the notoriously hyper-sexual posters at the entrance of the store used to make me feel pretty uncomfortable.The smell of cologne was too overwhelming, the music was always blasting, and the lights were too dim. And I totally remember the time when shirtless male models were used to entice customers to the store with their good looks. They’d pose for pictures with overly-excited girls in the middle of December, because that’s what got attention.

[bctt tweet=”It’s refreshing to see a woman of color at the forefront of fashion.” username=”wearethetempest”]

It’s refreshing to see a woman of color at the forefront of fashion. I just hope this isn’t a one-time deal. In order for me to be completely convinced, it’s going to take time and a sustained effort on behalf of the brand to really change my mind on their outlook on fashion.