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Feminspire | April 23, 2014

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Why Fitch the Homeless is a Really Bad Idea

Why Fitch the Homeless is a Really Bad Idea

In response to some comments made by Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries about not wanting large people in A&F clothes because he prefers “attractive…cool kids” in A&F clothes, there’s been a pretty big backlash, which is understandable. Most recently, I’ve learned about some “activism” aimed at giving Abercrombie and Fitch a “brand readjustment’” by giving Abercrombie and Fitch clothing to the homeless.

Because wouldn’t it be so awful for Abercrombie and Fitch clothing to be associated with homelessness and homeless people, because homeless people are so gross and disgusting, amirite? The video above says that it is striving to make Abercrombie and Fitch “the #1 brand of homeless apparel”. Maybe you’re thinking there’s no issue here because at least homeless people are getting some new duds and they were purchased from Goodwill, so what’s the big deal?

The big deal comes in when homeless people are being exploited to prove a point. Many homeless people are already widely disenfranchised and lacking a platform to be heard or to get access to the resources they need. By attempting to make a brand look bad by associating it with homelessness, the message is that homeless people are so gross, dirty, shameful (insert negative attribute here) that by associating the brand with these types of people, we are really making the brand look shitty, because these people are so shitty! get it? It’s all such a laugh! This type of “activism” is a farce. It contributes to and propagates a culture wherein homeless people can be used as props to further an agenda. This isn’t how you treat people. This is how you treat disposable objects. It isn’t funny, noble, or helpful to try and stick it to Abercrombie and Fitch by using homeless people as the medium for your message. Would the American population at large be comfortable with any other minority group being used to make a brand look “bad” by associating their clothing with that group? Sub out “homeless” for any other minority group and see how that sounds and feels. Pretty shitty, right?

Giving clothing, food, needed sundries, time, and other resources to the homeless or people who are in need is an awesome thing. But this isn’t about giving to the homeless. I don’t see any real or actual concern for homeless people in this “movement”. I see homeless people being used as the butt of a joke. The punchline? “Hahaha Abercrombie! You want cool and attractive people in your clothes and you claim to be exclusionary, so we’re going to give your clothes to homeless people because you would hate that!” The implication here is that homeless people are not cool or attractive and the brand can’t be exclusionary when worn by an already excluded group. This only “works” because homeless people are already part of an othered and excluded group, often left out of mainstream society, denied access to basic resources and the ability to have their needs met. Can’t.Stop.Laughing.

People who want to give to the homeless can do so at any time. Do it today! But giving a certain brand of clothing to the homeless in an attempt to make that brand of clothing look bad or unsavory or less-than-desirable is only possible when the population or group receiving the clothing carries the stigma you are trying to attach to that label. This doesn’t make Abercrombie and Fitch look bad. This makes Greg Karber and everybody supporting this “activism” look like an insensitive douche canoe who thinks homeless people are disposable props to be used to further an agenda, and that’s pretty sad and disappointing. Wanna help the homeless? Try not furthering the stigma surrounding homelessness by insisting that a brand being associated with homelessness would surely be less desirable or wanted. Wanna stick it to Abercrombie and Fitch? Easy Peasy! Don’t give them your money! It’s a simple solution that doesn’t involve stepping on the backs of the homeless in place of a soapbox.

Are you giving Abercrombie and Fitch to the homeless? Do you think using the homeless to prove a point is whack attack? Meet me down in the comments and let’s talk about it.

Written by Sara Luckey
You can tweet with her here, talk beauty with her here, or engage in a conversation about current events as viewed through a sociopolitical, feminist lens here.

  • nyssa23

    Thank you! There was something about this that bothered me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. And you said it!

  • Sara

    I totally agree with you. A&F’s statement is despicable (I think this piece sums up my feelings really well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-taney-humphreys/a-message-to-abercrombies_b_3245941.html) but this isn’t the right way to create change. Hit them at the cash register; that’s the best place to make change with corporations like this one.

  • Sarah Gay

    At first, I disagreed, thinking, “hey, someone mentioned that and I didn’t think it was a bad idea, and I don’t mean to put down the homeless.” But honestly, there’s really no way to justify it–if you’re not trying to put them down, then why is it being used to prove a point against the company? So, very good article.

    • Sara Luckey

      Thank you! And I do think it is important that we point out that the only way this can work at all is because homeless people are already so frequently an object of derision, and that’s messed up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Elford/714525520 Jennifer Elford

    I agree with you, but I don’t think the people starting this anti-abercrombie campaign had such negative intentions. I think they just knew that someone as despicable as the CEO of A&F would be angry about this. I think they’re trying to deconstruct his ugly discrimination. I can see where you’re coming from though, and it is a bit unsavory…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Grahame-Turner/1804093 Grahame Turner

      Agreed; it seems like an unintentional message hidden in a well-intentioned gesture. It would definitely piss off the A+F CEO, though, which I like; mocking the homeless, however, not a good thing.

      I guess I’m drawn to the movement because I already don’t buy stuff from them, but I want to lash out. All my rage from High School has to go somewhere…

    • Sara Luckey

      I completely agree with you that they probably didn’t have negative intentions. I’m assuming that they didn’t think it through or consider the ‘why’ of how this type of ‘activism’ is effective. But I think it’s important to call attention to it, the same we would if somebody was being accidentally or unintentionally racist or homophobic. Because as long as these things happen and there is no pushback or call for careful thought or analysis or any drive to challenge our thought processes and our way of thinking, these things will keep happening. There were so many ways the point here could have been made without using a marginalized group of people to prove a point, know what I mean?

      • David Rodriguez

        If you agree that he had positive intentions then why are you calling him a “douche-canoe.” Is he not then deserving of more respectful language? The inflammatory language has undoubtedly increased the amount of people reading and responding to your article but now in the comments you are striking a more reasonable tone. Well if you look at Greg Karber’s twitter you will find him linking videos about the homeless problem in this country. It seems to me you are both using the tactic of being inflammatory to get attention and then striking a more reasonable tone when all eyes are on you. But there is a big difference. You are calling him names and he is treating his detractors with respect while clarifying his position. He only demonized Abercrombie while you want demonize him and all his “supporters” as douche canoes. So now I am a douche canoe. That broad labeling strikes me as far closer to racism than anything Greg Karber has done and his responses to the controversy reinforce my opinion.

    • Ben

      I’m tired of hearing ” how despicable” the CEO is. He just said what every luxe brand in the world is thinking. I’m not saying A&F is luxe, but I feel that’s what they’re striving for (exclusion). You don’t see fat people wearing much dolce & gabana, you don’t see poor people rocking Louis Vuitton. Do you think this is an accident? That’s what these brands have going for them, and that’s why people want them. A&F is like high school luxe, it’s expensive and not sized for every body type, the only reason this is an issue is that the CEO was dumb enough to admit it. If you disagree with it don’t shop there, but don’t fool yourself they’re the only brand that does it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alec.weinberg.9 Alec Weinberg

    It’s not sending a message saying, “we think homeless people suck.” It’s sending a message saying, “We know AF thinks homeless people suck. So, out of kindness for the homeless, and out of spite for AF, we give them AF clothes.”

    • Sara Luckey

      Except that if it really were about kindness for the homeless, then giving them any brand would do, and there would just be a drive to give clothes to the homeless.

      It would not be possible to ‘re-brand’ Abercrombie and Fitch by giving clothing to the homeless is homeless people weren’t already the object of scorn or ridicule. It’s why this campaign can ‘work’ that makes it so problematic.

      • Kara Dawlish

        I don’t necessarily think this is a great idea, but I don’t think he’s putting the clothes on these people with the intention of giving the brand a bad name. He stated how discriminatory they are to give them a bad name. I didn’t interpret him handing these clothes out to make them seem more douchey as a company at all, but rather to say that the homeless are people too. The CEO of A&F might have a problem with skinny rich white kids, and those who fit into XXL clothing and lack money, wearing the same thing, but I think this dude’s just trying to say that he doesn’t.

      • http://www.facebook.com/stefan.leenaars Stefan Leenaars

        Yes, but it’s not just an act of kindness, it’s also trying to make a statement about a company and trying to motivate people to do something similar.

        And yes you are right it is problematic why this action works that way. But because of this it perfectly pinpoints this exact problem. This action only works on those that see the homeless as inferior. If you don’t, then it’s just a guy doing a nice thing for his fellow man. But if you’re a snob like the CEO of A&F, well…..

      • fitchthehomeless

        A&F getting some strange support. lol
        I’m glad you feel so strongly about it. It’s a shame you believe it
        hurts the homeless. I believe the dude that made the video made it
        pretty clear that the idea came from A&Fs decision to burn the
        clothes rather than donate them to the homeless. You failed to mention
        that in your response. So while I appreciate your claim, You need to
        re-watch the video. #fitchthehomeless

        • Manuel Padilla

          You are right that Sara might have asserted some things which are not entirely tenable, but she raises some salient points too, the most apropos being that the campaign itself treats homeless people as objects, not subjects. That was probably not intentional but is definitely a dynamic in play and something that should be addressed.

          • windskisong

            Then again, A&F, Hollyweird, ABCNNBCBS, HBO, and many other organizations treat people as objects based on their appearance, and they don’t get this kind of reaction. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I heard of a protest against Hollyweird.

        • http://www.facebook.com/seanfarrelluk Sean Farrell

          I dont see whats wrong with a company not wanting to give their fashion items away to homeless people for free. Value comes from exclusivity, I have no idea whats wrong with that.

          • Carol

            Would you say the same thing about a company that burned surplus food rather than give it to food banks – because doing so would devalue it? Does giving food to food banks say anything negative about the people using food banks? Perhaps the real issue here is our values.

          • http://www.facebook.com/seanfarrelluk Sean Farrell

            reflecting on that and considering that food and clothing are roughly analogous i would still say its the owner of the property has the right to do as they wish with it, and simply not giving it away for free when it is a product that derives some of its value from exclusivity does not have a negative moral implication unless there was considerable scarcity and poverty within the community which was not being dealt with by state programs, so in the USA for example there are decent provisions for basic food and clothing. considering that A&F have charitable initiatives that support needy in other ways I think my assessment is reasonable http://www.anfcares.org/philanthropy/

      • http://www.facebook.com/apnappo Tony Nappo

        But the point is the re-branding is not from the perspective of the potential activist- the re-branding may not even be real in a market perspective- the negative perceptions of the homeless is majority in the mind of A&F CEO Jefferies, and it’s mostly to piss him off- no other brands burn their clothing instead of donated them to charity, so no other brand would have a cultral impact like A&F will- it’s not about giving a rebranding of negativity by associating them with homeless people

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584826426 Evey Styles

        When I saw that video, it made me want to just go give clothes to homeless people. I
        don’t care about the brand name, just clothes. I plan on doing that once
        I get my paycheck, even though I don’t make very much money. THAT is
        what happens when people do nice things, record them, and make them go
        viral. There is much more to an action than what you see in front of you…everything creates a ripple effect.

      • Poo

        The CEO of AF said he would burn his clothing before giving it to the homeless. That’s why someone gave his clothing to the homeless.

        But, speaking on behalf of a group of people is wrong, so getting offended for people is like taking away their ability to make their own opinions and choices is far worse than giving people stuff. Why are you assuming that people who are homeless have no choice in the matter?

    • Angel

      It must be nice living in the privileged world in which you live that you can make such easy associations without thinking about the consequences of what comes out of your mouth, or what your actions lead to. This article is spot on Sara.. the best line is “Would the American population at large be comfortable with any other minority group being used to make a brand look “bad” by associating their clothing with that group? Sub out “homeless” for any other minority group and see how that sounds and feels. Pretty shitty, right?” I couldn’t agree more.. insert black, hispanic, gay, or any other under-represented or oppressed group without privilege and see what it looks like. This is so ignorant it’s illustrative of the blindness associated with privilege. The only good way to send a message to AF is to not buy there clothes period, and put what that CEO of their’s said in big quotations on a billboard, and you will see how quickly people will not want to be associated with THOSE comments. It should not be that we don’t want any kind of people associated with AF, it should be that nobody wants to be associated with AF because they don’t want to be associated with a douche’s opinions.

      • C

        I’d like to sub-in the word “criminal”

      • David Rodriguez

        As a minority I’m offended by this very common tactic of “What if it was black people, than would you be cool with it?” What you are doing is shutting down discussion by trying to put the maker of the as on the same moral level as the klu klux klan or other purveyors of overt racism. I feel like you’re exploiting heinous racism in order to win an argument and shut down what would otherwise be a more thoughtful discussion.

        Racism is a simple issue. It’s bad. The questions this video raises are more complex. By denying that complexity and equating anyone who doesn’t agree with you as being on the same level as an overt racist, you are shutting down a conversation. Which is a shame because real conversations need to happen in this country.

        You do see that his video is reaching many, many more people than a billboard as evidenced by the very discussion we’re having. Before deriding the video you need to account for the value that can be found in the awareness it has raised. This is something that has already happened. So although an easy retort would be “here is a better way to raise awareness,” the fact is that that better way didn’t happen but the video did and that is a positive thing.

        • Jeffrey Mikes

          I don’t think anyone here makes AS MUCH sense as you do.
          Kudos.

        • Giovanni Garcia

          Morality has many levels; you’re the one who decided to bring up the extreme that the KKK belongs to. Your comparison has nothing to do with the piece written above though. A critical opinion like this article’s is constructive; perpetuation of a systemic dismissal of agency among the homeless isn’t really. At all. You may have missed the point of the above piece. If you’d like to talk morality, I believe the plight of the homeless comes far ahead of shaming one company with a more tactless CEO than most.

          Also: “exploiting heinous racism”? You need to reread the article before you pull out the histrionics.

        • windskisong

          As you point out, David, unfortunately the word and understanding of racism/racists, minority, etc., has been so thoroughly devalued by the constant cries of racism/sexism/whateverism that it has lost its impact. It’s like a corollary to Godwin’s law – the first person to use Nazi’s in an argument has already lost. The first person to use racism in an argument has already lost.

          Well said David. As for me and my house, we stopped entering A&F after they stopped being a neat outdoorsy store and started promoting pornography in their catalogs and a skanky image in their stores.

      • reggae

        Very classy opening your comment with a personal insult.

        Rather ironic that you call other people out for being blind and privileged. I take it that you are a homeless man posting from a local public library then? What gives you the “privilege” to speak on behalf of homeless people and cry out against the great injustice of giving them branded clothing? Did you or the author attempt to garner the opinion of people who live in these environments or are victims of this oppression that you’re so intent on rallying against? Some people in the video refused the video maker’s clothing, and he did not force the clothes onto them.

        Some of the homeless in the video gladly accepted the clothing offered to them. It reeks of privilege to claim that they should not have been given the clothing in the first place because it constitutes some sort of exploitation. In what world is it acceptable to say that a homeless person does not have the ability to decide for themselves whether they are being exploited, and refuse the gift on their own terms? How can you advocate for greater enfranchisement of the homeless while disregarding their own ability to make decisions or evaluate situations for themselves? It seems to me like you are the one putting down the homeless as incapable of making their own decisions.

        Do I agree fully with the video maker’s motivations? Certainly not; had I been in his shoes, I probably would have offered the homeless other clothing as well, but explained my desire to irritate the A&F CEO by giving his company’s clothing to the people he has actively attempted to keep his clothing from. Claiming that his video is on par with racism when it is encouraging charity from those that may not have performed charity in the past? That’s a blatant exaggeration. To also use your platform to argue on behalf of homeless, as if they are incapable of making their own decision? Now that’s bullsh*t.

        I suggest the author pick up a copy of a local Street Spirit or talk to some homeless people. I think she will find that they are often quite intelligent people who are quite capable of thinking for themselves.

        Finally- those who are attaching the label of undesirability to the homeless are those reacting to the video in this manner. The intentions of the video maker are quite clear from those who have followed this saga from the beginning. A&F’s CEO would rather burn his clothing than see them on the homeless because he perceives that it would weaken his brand. The act does not weaken his brand because homeless people are undesirable to society; they weaken his brand because homeless people are undesirable to the CEO. They don’t fit into his view of the douchebag (or “cool”, in his words) image he seeks for his clothes. Does society at large agree with his interpretation? I think its fair to say no, given the widespread negative PR reaction to his words, of which this video is only a small part. So why are we reacting to the video as if society agrees that homeless are undesirable? That seems rather like an unfounded assumption to me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/seanfarrelluk Sean Farrell

      If it was out of kindness for the homeless then he would have maximized the number of clothes he could buy and not buy A&F stuff. Also, he would have been doing it before he got this idea into his head to attack the A&F CEO. but he wasnt.

  • Robyn

    I don’t know, I don’t think they are saying the homeless are dirty and gross, I think they are making a point because these are not A&F’s “type of people”. They are not saying to implying anything negative towards the homeless, they are implying that these are real people too, who deserve to wear the clothes, instead of some far-out ideal of the perfect person that A&F seems to have.

    • Giovanni

      But it’s all about the implications, and the humanity of these people isn’t in question, that of A&F’s CEO is. On its face, the video means to discredit Abercrombie & Fitch clothing. Homelessness has had very little to do with the image of A&F until this video, which quite explicitly means to denigrate the company’s practices, to which the homeless are largely irrelevant. But now suddenly the homeless have something to do with it, because this person thinks it’s his duty to turn the homeless into walking billboards. It’s not. “Real people” shouldn’t be treated like billboards or patronized like this.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584826426 Evey Styles

        Then those “real people” can tell those who are giving them free clothing that they don’t want to be a part of their evil scheme to showcase how decent people vs good people in this world are when confronted with a rich mind who has no concept of humanity.

        • CW

          If you offered something nice to a person who is homeless, and they refused your offer, what would you think? Not that what you think of a person should matter to them, but the saying “beggars can’t be choosers” is pretty apt, here. Those who are homeless and in need of clothing are being put in a sick position by this “activism”; refuse to be exploited by this guy and this refuse something you need, or accept an become a walking example of exploitation.

        • Cori

          Except from what I saw, those people had no idea why they were being handed these clothes. At least explaining it would have made this stunt a little less revolting.

        • wat

          he doesn’t want to make sweaters for fat people.. and somehow this makes him inhuman?

          • http://twitter.com/imarec01 imarec

            He doesn’t want to make sweaters for NORMAL people. My very healthy, very normally sized teenager cannot (and will not) wear anything AF. I’m glad. I wouldn’t want her to anyway. But the clothes do not fit anyone not model skinny. Many real, healthy, fit people cannot wear AF or other hip brands.

        • JD

          to Evey Styles -

          the emotional esteem and morale of these
          individuals is already so low, the majority of them, even sensing that they are being exploited, wont say anything. Someone has to speak up for them. Think about it. You’ve been homeless and living on the streetsfor two years. Part of your reasons for being there may be be due to years of emotional and physical abuse from others. You are numb. You
          can see and sense what’s really happening around you. But you just don’t say anything anymore….many of these people have lost their voices, metaphorically speaking…

        • Anonymoo

          Except to know about it and refuse the clothing would mean having internet access…. which normally means having a roof over your head…

    • http://www.facebook.com/irenesee777 Irene Cardenas

      The U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, judged in 2006, in Jones v. L.A., that law enforcement actions against the homeless, such as sleeping prohibitions, “cause them to suffer shame and stigma.” Are these activists welcoming their chance to associate A&F with this stigma? If they take advantage of a stigma, how much do they want to overcome it?

      If people really care about the homeless, why don’t they try to arrange more healthy work or treatment opportunities for them? It’s socially and mentally healthy when people focus on their inner strengths, yet often the homeless are subjected to situations where people focus on their presumed inner problems. People often get jobs and roommates through social connections, yet obviously many homeless people lack such connections.

      Shelters often focus on routing them toward disability payments. Then the whole country pays for related local services for life. Many homeless can work, e.g. can recycling or doing chores at shelters. It’s less common that people actually want to employ them, due to their histories, records or stigma (which literally means “sign of disease”)!

      • Anonymoo

        “of no fixed abode” has so many negative connotations I even catch myself sometimes suddenly making a snap judgement about someone based on the fact they’re homeless. Sure, some people will have fucked up and ended up there, but even then it probably won’t be a fair deal for them to be homeless for whatever reason. The majority will be victims of mental health problems, financial problems, family problems, and yet just the simple act of applying for work and saying you were homeless for a period of time or currently are “of no fixed abode” will instantly exclude you from opportunities. There are laws in place for employers not to discriminate against people with criminal records and yet nothing is in place to prevent employers from discriminating against someone with housing problems.

      • Me

        Yeahhh, you’re kind of lost about the whole “presumed inner problems”. Most people on the streets have issues with ‘brain fitness’. It’s not as though they just walk out of their homes one day and lose their way home because they ran out of money or don’t have “social connections”.
        Most of them lack a lot of abilities a fully functioning brain offers the average person to maintain a job, get a job, find a home, get along with others and maintain a home. They have difficulties with: motivation, temper, organization, time management, sometimes hallucinations…
        I think it’s very egocentric of you to believe that the solution that seems so simple to you has never been tried (of course! you’re some kind of genius!). It has been, BTW, these aren’t people who are stupid and the only thing they can do is sort recycling bins! If they were capable of being/staying employed, it could be very likely that they could do a variety of jobs, not unlike yours.

      • KC

        I used to have hope for the homeless. As a fairly sheltered, suburban kid, I used to think, “Geez, why don’t we just build better shelters and help them get skills training and find jobs? That would solve everything! Why isn’t anybody doing this?”

        Then when I grew up I got hit with the reality of visiting some inner-city areas and realized that many of these people just pee their pants openly in the streets, some shout profanities in front of young children and follow families around terrifying them, etc. A homeless person once attempted to steal my wedding ring in a parking lot! That was really terrifying.

        It seems to me there are two types of homeless people. There are homeless veterans, and I wish so much there was something I could do to help them- because they have so much to offer society and they have sacrificed so much. Then there are the psychos of the world who SHOULD be in an asylum but for some reason or other their families failed them and left them to live on the streets. I find that the majority of the homeless are people of the latter category. Nobody wants to help such people because they’re incapable of receiving the help. They aren’t mentally fit enough to WANT to do anything with their lives.

        But they’d be better off in a treatment facility getting help and getting their basic needs provided for than roaming the streets. The question is- at whose cost? I think as a taxpayer I would rather pay a little extra to get them off the streets than have to worry when I need to go downtown.

        I thank God for all I’ve been given. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be posting on here have food, clean water, a shower, a roof over our heads, and a means to get clean clothes- as well as luxury things like internet and television. Something needs to be done about those who don’t even have their basic needs covered.

        Most homeless people seem to be dangerous and beyond help- but there are plenty out there who could use a hand up.

        • diamondintherogue

          There is a little bit of each kind of person on the streets. Activists, veterans, families, mentally ill, people sleeping in their cars because the company they worked for had “cut-backs” and shit like that. There are artists, people who live for surfing or nature in general. There are a lot of really poor people who sometimes choose and some do not who sleep outside out of necessity. There are even some people that aren’t even poor that want to be outside all the time, obviously not whens it’s raining or snowing, or are poor and want not to live in a corrupt society and try there best not to contribute. What I am saying is that it could be many different collaborated reasons, spirituality even. It could be about sleeping on the earth, being cleansed by the ocean, and staying connected as a pagan or just by listening to your inner needs. It’s the basic needs that aren’t meet met for the people by the government and this is a shame. Getting off the streets is one of the hardest accomplishments a person may make. Imagine having not a dollar for a bus, a taxi, or anything like this ad being homeless in a city. A lot of these people are robbed constantly themselves and most of the time by the police who carry peoples things away in their trunks or throw their few possessions away into a dumpster if left unattended. Or confiscate what little a person can accumulate without a car, a house, a storage unit, a nothing when they are arrested for sleeping, for smoking, for pissing. All these stupid things everyone gets to do freely IF they have a house. How does a person get a license, get a job, or social assistance even at times with out their identity on paper. These things can be robbed or forgotten about when your mind is only surrounded with survival situation like where to eat, where a safe place may be to sleep and these things. All I’m saying is that it could be any of us out there or our brother, or cousin or grandparents even. These people buy shirts ad pants and these sorts of things at high prices when made in china even. If they want to involve the homeless the best thing they could do is take their money and give it to them.

          I remember at one time there were many asylums where when it comes down to it may people are mistreated with drugs and chemicals only harmful and suppressant to a persons growth. Though I can see how this may be helpful for some crazy person who constantly wants to murder and rape like a mass murderer or something who has no control but for most other things there are better ways to “get better” through herbs and loving supportive family. Anyways, these asylums were shut down when pharmaceuticals got big and these people with sometimes, like you say. major mental problems were prescribed these “miracle pills” and sent out into the world where they then usually moved into houses and apartments that cost only so much to rent out and were not expensive. Then these people were and still are today being Evicted, another reason for homelessness, because there landlords sell their properties for lots of money to developers or they all of the sudden want so much more money once these poorer areas become more popular for rich business owners and such.

          The way I see it is that your ring coulda been stolen by anyone who is a thief, poor, homeless, klepto and any of these. I see dangerous people everywhere, the most violent of them all are the people spending large sums of tax dollars on wars and the same people who are taking away from the poor more and more. These same evil, dangerous people want most of the population down and out where they can’t get back up. I hope it doesn’t happen worst then it already has but I know that is the plan to keep only a few very very rich families and keep everybody else poor. This gap between the poor and the rich is already spread far enough. You know what happened in Cuba right? These rich “elite” people and families were sent here to the US because their country didn’t want their corrupt ways anymore. The same thing happens in small towns and neighborhoods. When there is a person or people who are hurting women or children, the elderly or anyone they are sent away. They don’t hurt the person but they will drive them to the next city and give them 50 bucks for the bus or whtever and tell them never to return. You could call the cops or officials if they will do something about it in a timely manner otherwise you have no choice but to take care of it yourselves.

          Aw man, and since I have the time want to know something really twisted? Since I have the time to spare I will share about the war on homeless people in Venice Beach. It was at night when I walked around a corner from 4th street, a pretty well lit street onto rose, a part of the street with more trees and shadows, one of the few sections left for ppl to sleep in L.A. wthout getting arrested or ticked then having to go to court for the ticket but having no car to get there or money to pay so in the end after a warrant is out for a persons arrest who didn’t show up to court, this person will almost inevitably go to jail and this sick cycle happens again and again at time, I surprisingly came across a well dressed man pissing! P*ssing all over the place, spraying his p*ss everywhere like he might miss a part of the sidewalk or something. Wht I mean by well-dressed is that his clothes were new. He was older, white and dressed in new hoodlum clothes that were dark. He was pretty surprised to me to and had this mean devilish look like a evil little boy would have only he was a man and did not have the innocence of a child. He quickly took off past me up Rose. And see, I was curious about him since word on the street is that a group of people living in houses where defecating in the streets and pointing the finger at homeless ppl. Since there were many other people out and many street lights up ahead, I followed him. Sure enough I followed him to his Prius with a sparkling paint job that he had parked down a couple blocks up on a side street. At other times these “housies” where cheering at R.V. homes that could be snatched from under various dwellers. They would listen to police radio and purposely meet for this while someone or family’s life is devastated. At other times they were driving their super ice sports cars down streets designated for people to sleep and honk their horns over and over. CRAZINESS. Talk about bullying!

          This guys idea with A+F is SO off. Screw him. If you have money give it to the homeless. The more money you have the more money you have to give is how I see it.

        • Hannah

          Wow, that was some of the most privileged, vitriolic ableism I’ve read in a long time. Just pure ‘I hate the mentally ill’. You clearly know nothing about mental health, but I’m glad at least you’re patronizing enough to think they warrant clean homes and fresh food and water rather than ‘pissing themselves’ in the street because they’re ‘psychos’. Just wow.

    • pau_oviedo

      very well put

    • CrystieMuse

      I would agree. However, to make it non-exploitative, the people doing this act need only explain themselves & ask homeless people if they would like to participate. Then they’d be in on the joke too.

    • hjk

      Agree with you! I don’t thin k it’s a bad idea, it will hopefuly just make the “cool” kids not want the brand anymore!

    • Meghan16

      I initially felt much the same way you do. Obviously the aim is not to make A&F seem gross by getting homeless people to wear their clothes, but rather to explicitly diverge from what A&F deems “acceptable.” The problem is, however, that maybe homeless people don’t want to be part of this campaign. Or maybe some do. The point being, they were never asked.

      • Dannielle Kaye Laws

        “The point being, they were never asked.”

        That is a GREAT point and I never thought of that until now.

    • KC

      Do they really DESERVE to wear the clothes? If they didn’t work for them and pay for them?

      Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t offer larger sizes. Does an obese man who works 40 hours a week plus overtime to support his family deserve to wear them too?

    • Bonkley

      If A&F’s type of people are the cool and attractive, then this movement concludes that the homeless are the uncool and unattractive. That is not a very nice thing to say. There should be a better way to get back at A&F.

  • http://twitter.com/BCNSimpson Uptown Girl

    I see your point of view, but I thought of the idea of this campaign more as Abercrombie has been dehumanizing homeless people and those who are not “cool enough to wear the brand” so we are going to show how dehumanizing the brand really is, and not those who don’t usually wear it. I support this way of activism, because it may help – 1. To show what a bad philosophy Abercrombie’s franchise has, & maybe it will affect the sales too. 2. To show how stupid it is that a great part of society considers someone better by the clothes they wear 3. The donations to the poor will increase, their voice as human beings whose humanity is being attacked (by Abercrombie as well as society) will be strengthened 4. The ppl donating will abandon Abercrombie’s reinforced morality. – Though I think the people who are accepting the donation should be informed about this platform, as they are not objects to sale the idea, furthermore they are helping companions, volunteers to spread the word about a needed cry for attention to the whole structure of society.

    • Kim

      I didn’t see the voice of the homeless being heard when clothes that probably won’t fit some of them being thrown at them.

  • EmilyKellis

    I understand your point, and for background I care a lot about the homeless and worked at a women’s shelter for a year. But I think the point isn’t that the activists or even society think the homeless are gross- the point is that A+F’s CEO would. So they’re doing a good deed by donating clothing to people who need it and teaching that jerk a lesson at the same time that he can’t control who wears his brand. It serves him right for destroying damaged clothing rather than donating it to the poor. Just my 2 cents.

    • http://www.feminspire.com/ Rhiannon Payne

      Okay, I’m tired of all these comments that are like “Well this guy is doing something good for humanity, he’s donating clothes to homeless people, we should be celebrating him, not tearing him down.”

      Uh, no. Yes, this guy is giving clothes to homeless people. Which, on a totally surface level, is a good thing. But when he films himself giving these people some shitty A&F shirt that he picked up at Goodwill he is taking a little bit of their humanity in the process.

      This is a big stunt to make a viral video, and he’s taking advantage of the homeless community to score some internet points. Do you think this guy didn’t FULLY INTEND for his video to blow up all over social media? And do you think his personal brand, or his blog or website or youtube channel or whatever it is he does isn’t going to HUEGLY benefit from this?

      But yeah, he’s such a great, generous guy for giving homeless people some old shirts that he bought for pennies. -_-

      • http://www.facebook.com/rabbii Rabbii Abu Rahman

        So what would you have people do, just ignore Homeless people rather than giving them clothes or helping them, maybe his intends are not selfless but thats how people are, Don’t people help other because they feel good about it.
        Very few people can be 100 percent selfless. I don’t think it matters if he wanted to create a viral video, Of course he did, he wanted to make a viral campaign against A&F but if the end result helps few people, what is the bad outcome?
        If 100 selfish people each help 10 people who needs help and films it and puts on youtube the outcome is 1000 people being helped.

        • http://www.facebook.com/seanfarrelluk Sean Farrell

          if you’re doing it to feel better about yourself, then you feel better about yourself because you know its the right thing to do to help people. this guy is doing it to exploit the homeless, and attack this CEO.

        • windskisong

          Well said, Rabbii. The Carnegies, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Fords, Gates, etc. accomplished amazing things for a large number of people through their charity work and giving, which was paid for by their selfish actions. In addition, their selfish actions raised the standard of living of the entire world, by making oil, steel, transportation, computers, etc. affordable and available to everyone. They were horribly selfish, but their selfish actions did much good.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584826426 Evey Styles

            You know, that video made me want to just go give clothes to homeless people. I don’t care about the brand name, just clothes. I plan on doing that once I get my paycheck, even though I don’t make very much money. THAT is what happens when people do nice things, record them, and make them go viral.

          • FeministDisney

            then it’s sad he didn’t record a video about helping them get housing, medication (homeless are disproportionately mentally ill) and getting off the streets. Clothing is not the biggest issue facing the homeless. Which hey might be another problem with the exploitation going on in this video: it misleads everyone as to how to help destitute people.

          • Kate

            In response to that statement about the great names that helped build America. Laissez faire capitalism, Standard Oil vs The United States, Homestead Strike, Railroad Trust, the Dearborn Independent and United States vs Microsoft. These people didn’t give away money because they were selfless they wanted to be remembered.

        • Cori

          There is a logical fallacy in your argument when you claim that “giving [the homeless people] clothes or helping them” is the same as what this guy is doing. Donating to shelters because you have extra things or because you want to help out is very different from what this guy is doing. The two are not equal.
          Your question of “would you rather” makes no sense for this reason. You act like there are only two options available, ignoring or helping, and since this guy obviously isn’t ignoring, he must be helping them! But he’s not, and it’s a mistake to pretend that any giving is one in the same. Yes, it is important to donate to people who might be worse off than you, if you have the excess to do so. But it is also important to change the mindset that homeless people are gross, unwanted or inferior to anyone else. Perpetuating that mindset is definitely NOT doing them any favors.

        • Pablo

          This is what I would have people do…. maybe spend those 58 dollars on buying 10 shirts for homeless rather than 1 ANF shirt. It just does not make sense. Also I think he did it for the purpose of making a viral video as a marketing strategy for himself as a filmaker. I dont believe he actually cares for the homeless because of the underlying tones that they are the lowest of the low.

        • Christine

          THE ISSUE ISN’T ABOUT CLOTHING THE HOMELESS!!! People are generous everyday. Quiet humble people. They give and they give. This is one dude promotion his social experiment by using homeless people as a back drop to make his point. Did he have permission to film them? He he benefits from this is he going to help them. This has NOTHING to do with the homeless. This is about proving a point. He probably couldn’t get away with asking “fat” people to wear his clothes. The homeless are the most vulnerable and many are probably not up to date on the latest news, etc. and he is simply exploiting them.

          • HeartSeeker180

            Just wanted to point out two things: “Fat” people wouldn’t fit in the clothes, so it wouldn’t make sense to give them to people who couldn’t wear them. And it’s legal to film people in a public place, so he technically did have permission.

          • KC

            Actually I’m pretty sure they have to sign a release or else you’re legally required to blur out their faces.

          • http://www.mugglenet.com/ MuggleNet News Copy Editor

            Oh, you must be right. I have seen videos where they do blur out faces. But the thing is that I’ve heard multiple sources say that it’s legal to film people in public places. Maybe it’s only if they have a spoken line where you need their permission? Because in newscasts, there are always people walking past in the background, and I think they only blur out faces if, for example, the person walks up to the people filming and asks.

        • FeministDisney

          I think the real problem in america is when people give out $10 worth of shittily constructed tshirts, exploit the homeless in the process, and then think they’ve done a good job.
          You know why a lot of homeless people don’t have an extensive wardrobe? It’s not JUST affordability- they also have no where to KEEP it. They’re HOMELESS. Outreach should focus on getting them to safe places and medications etc (since mentally ill individuals are more likely to end up ont he streets), not just on putting half a bandaid to the situation.

          ALSOooo if part of the original issue is that they don’t make sizes large enough and make their brand exclusionary… this is still going to happen with handouts? Like you would literally be handing out tshirts in a line, get to a larger woman, and have to go, “Sorry, you’re too big for our campaign.” wow, how selfless and thoughtful

          at the very least he should have explained what he was doing, and given OPTIONS so that people didnt have to choose between exploitation and no handout. Bring along nonAbercrombie shirts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/danix Dan Anix

        I should prefer the right thing get done for the wrong reasons then the wrong thing for the right ones.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jonbash Jon Bash

          That’s a false dichotomy. Why not do the right things for the right reason?

      • Brian Overman

        Yeah, you’re right. We should burn our clothes instead of handing them down to people who need them. Stop being concerned about YOUR guilt and accept the fact that clothing the homeless is a positive thing regardless of the hip and viral reason for it.

        • Cori

          That’s not what’s happening here, your argument makes no sense. This guy went out and intentionally bought a specific brand of clothing to give to homeless people as a kind of negative billboard.
          If a person went through his closet, picked out some things to donate that he doesn’t wear or don’t fit him, and maybe some of them happened to Abercrombie & Fitch, then sure, he’s doing a good thing. But that wouldn’t get views.

      • http://www.facebook.com/phil.freeman.35 Phil Freeman

        Oh, so you know him personally?

        I love how this article makes no mention that the CEO also said he’d rather burn the clothes than have…ready for it…HOMELESS people wear it. The fact that he is bringing awareness to a rather asinine comment made by the CEO of this company isn’t enough? If he bought the clothes new, not for pennies, would it increase the utility of his deed? Is that how it works? Pennies = not a good guy, Dollars = good guy?

        I’ll never get the attitude of sympathetic minds that do nothing but try to destroy what that person is doing. Self-marginalizing your own cause…

        • Mark206

          Well said! Thank you.

        • Cori

          No one claimed that buying the shirts new would have made it any better. This isn’t about what he’s trying to accomplish with regard to A&E or what the CEO said about anything. @rhiannonpayne:disqus was saying that his platform, the fact that he is using homeless people as a kind of reverse billboard, is messed up.

      • Kim

        If we are really concerned about the homeless, we would offer any brand of clothes and clothes of all sizes especially since A&F don’t make larger sizes. We would give them a choice of even wanting the clothes in the first place instead of throwing clothes at them. He could have started up a conversation first, like how people normally treat each other. The way he went about distributing the clothes is the issue here. I’m sorry that many of you don’t understand this.

      • whatarejustice?

        This comment implies that people who are homeless do not have a choice, which dehumanizes them. This whole article does that. It’s getting offended on behalf of a demographic that you are not even a part of (it’s also wrong to get offended on behalf of your own demographic because it takes away individuality). Let individuals make up their own minds.

        The point is to stick it to that CEO guy who said he would burn his brand before giving his clothing to the homeless, so someone decided to give his clothing to the homeless. I am willing to bet that people who are down on their luck think this guy is an asshole and would gladly wear the brand. Probably.

        • Cori

          Except for the fact that I didn’t once see the guy explaining to the people why he was giving them these clothes. Sure, they are perfectly allowed to have choices. But you have to offer them first, with full disclosure.

    • http://twitter.com/MoreModestThanU Chris Christakis

      This article of clothing is not going to fit her. That clearly does not matter to this do-gooder. He got to take a video of him giving her clothing for his viral video. Is that really a “good deed”? She is an object in his self-promotion. Is devaluing A&F’s brand really worth devaluing homeless people?

      Homeless people need clothing that fits, most importantly, and is appropriate/presentable for a job interview or traditional social setting. This is so they can more easily work their way back into normal society, not cause they just need any clothes. Notice how none of these homeless people were naked.

      This man and his supporters are not evil people, but there is no defending this video and the subversive prejudices against the homeless that it promotes.

  • Heather Emme

    I was homeless, so when I saw this video, I was understandably torn. I still think donating clothes is a good thing, but this video definitely presents the homeless folks as less than human. I wrote about it a bit more here: http://wp.me/p28Iri-bu

  • hurr derr

    the message is ‘fuck you A&F’ not ‘ugh, you disgusting homeless person have some a&f’. why are you flipping an idea into something that it is not? nobody is being exploited, unless you think a making charitable act is exploiting those in need of charity and we should do away with all donations because somebody somewhere might construe it as not charitable.

    • Omano

      But you’re saying “fuck you A&F” by trying to associate their brand with the most unsavory group of people you can think of, in this case homeless. In any case, the fact that you say that that is the message precisely proves the author’s point: The homeless are merely a prop for this movement to express their distaste for A&F. The main purpose of this movement is not to help the homeless, or at least that’s the way it’s coming across. Its not an act of charity to use homeless people as a vehicle to attack A&F with. I get what this movement is trying to do, but I think it can be done in a better way.

      • discordany

        No, they’re saying “fuck you A&F” by saying “so you think homeless people are so unappealing to your market that you’d rather burn you additional product than donate it to those in need? Well fuck you, I disagree. I’m going to help some people out, and in the process, do exactly what you don’t want done.”

        Now, the framing of the video may be another story….

  • Kristin

    It’s because AF said they would rather BURN clothing then give it to the homeless. That’s why they are doing it. I don’t think its to say homeless people are gross or the opposite of “pretty and cool.”

    • Katrina

      Yes, this is why he is doing it and this is why I don’t think it’s so blatantly malicious and he is acting out of gut anger and he’s trying to do some good. I do agree, it’s flawed, but he was triggered by this fact of burning clothes rather than giving them to people in need that really set him off. I don’t think he needs to be vilified.

  • Kristin

    Second, the ends justify the means. Don’t try to stop people from giving clothes to the homeless. Maybe it will add to the negative connotation of homeless people but I’m pretty sure they would rather have clothing than worry about adjectives placed on them. That’s a pretty privileged thing to care about.

    • windskisong

      Agree – don’t try to stop people from giving clothes to the homeless, whatever the reason. BUT, the ends do NOT justify the means. That evil idea was used to justify horrible evil throughout the world for the 20th century, and needs to be purged from the lexicon. Stalin thought the ends justified the means, when he “purged” 10-20 million Russians who didn’t support his goals. Ditto for Mao, when he “Great Leap”ed 30-60 million Chinese to death. Ditto for Pol Pot, Castro, etc. Ditto for FDR, when he locked American citizens of Japanese descent in camps and forced them to give up their homes and property, or forced people to turn in their gold and precious metals then devalued the dollar by 40%. The Ends Do NOT Justify The Means. EVER.

    • windskisong

      On the other hand, I agree with the entire rest of your comment. Just seeing that phrase really scares me.

  • anom

    Really? What kind of rightwing religious nut are you? Giving clothing to the homeless isn’t good enough, it must be done with only the purest of intentions??? AND YOU are the authority on pure intentions?!?

    • rachel

      you spent 2 hours coming back to comment 5 times in a row. what is wrong with you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/stefan.leenaars Stefan Leenaars

    I disagree. I understand why you see it as such, but I think you don’t understand that the only reason he is giving the clothes to the homeless, isn’t because the film maker himself sees them as a good vehicle for a smear campaign, but because A&F has deemed these people as unworthy. Instead of donating their unsold clothes to the people that could really use them, they burn them instead. This brand is obsesses with physical appearance and only wants the successful white popular and thin college kid to represent them. So for them seeing people that they deem unfit (the fat, ugly, poor and yes homeless) wear their clothes is literally their worst nightmare. Even though that’s ridiculous because it shouldn’t be, and that is what he is challenging. I’m sure that if the video maker himself was the owner of a brand and that brand got know as the number 1 brand worn by the homeless, he wouldn’t see this as a negative at all. I suppose he could have gone out to give big sized people these clothes (which they then couldn’t use because they wouldn’t fit, and probably wouldn’t want now anyway) but let us not forget that the homeless are the group mostly in need of free clean clothing. It’s a good protest and helping people out at the same time.

  • Bel Baca

    “…we’re going to give your clothes to homeless people because you would hate that.” Indeed. What’s wrong with that? A&F is the one that sees ANYONE who’s not ‘cool’ as ‘less than’ (which would certainly include the homeless) —- and therein lies the point. Greg is using A&F’s own paradigm in order to give them their comeuppance. I was homeless myself once at the age of 15 and lived in a homeless shelter for a year and I would NOT see this as an insult. It’s an extraordinarily clever idea (what else are you going to do with your old A&F clothes), which perhaps is why it bothers people who don’t have the wherewithal to create their own movement, but instead prefer to sit around writing articles criticizing others.

  • rachel

    i think you’re totally right on some points, but i also think you’re getting a little carried away for the sake of having a point to make. it’s true that this is exploiting the homeless (if you think it’s not, you’re wrong – the intention isn’t to be charitable, it’s to serve their own agenda), but i personally feel that in this instance, it’s really not that bad. homeless people are already viewed extremely negatively in our society and you can’t really suggest that this is doing any significant extra damage. as a society, our opinion of homeless people can’t really get much lower (which of course is absolutely sickening, but also true). so, yeah, it’s obviously not ideal, but it’s also not having any real effect except the homeless people getting some clothes. that’s just my personal opinion though, and i wouldn’t argue with someone who said that that still doesn’t make it okay because it’s still not helping things. the part where i think you’re getting carried away is by saying that these people are the ones suggesting and think that homeless people are “undesirable”. but they’re not. A&F is. anybody who read what the CEO said about their exclusionary practices would know that homeless people fit into their definition of “undesirable”. period. it shouldn’t be the case, but it is. so these people wanted to give the clothes to people that A&F would, by THEIR definition, not want wearing them. obviously they can’t just try and find objectively “uncool” looking people, so they needed an identifiable group that A&F said they don’t want wearing their clothes. of which there are two. homeless people and overweight people. and since A&F doesn’t make clothes for overweight people, there you go. so okay, again, probably not good to play into the mentality of homeless = bad, but you’re way off base to attack these guys as being the ones to suggest it themselves and like they’re the ones attaching the label.

    i think it would have been better if your point had focused more on “how our society views the homeless is disgusting, and here is something that reflects and highlights that view” and been less along the lines of “these guys are assholes for suggesting that homeless people are undesirable and so is anyone who supports what they did”.

    • LolaMar

      Actually I think the campaign could’ve been much more interesting and impactful if they found a group of people who were willing to wear the clothes, fully aware of and consensual of the message that is being delivered. If a body positivity group wanted to get A&F clothes and put them on and march in front of headquarters, that would be awesome. Your point about how you ‘obviously’ couldn’t ask fat or nerdy people to participate
      in something like this at the risk of insulting them is telling… so,
      you obviously can’t insult those groups of people, but you can impose it on homeless people because, hey, they’re homeless, already at the bottom, and they’ll take whatever we feel like
      giving them? It’s kind of like spitting on food, and then handing it to a hungry
      person – yes, they will still eat it and be glad to have food, but it’s
      an added insult.

  • Victor Thompson

    I think you’re over-stating the case by quite a lot, and that you’re adding only negative commentary to the conversation that this filmmaker is trying to join.

    The main thing that bothers me is that you’re taking what you know about societal assumptions about people who are homeless, then projecting that onto the statements made in the film. Then you’re saying that the filmmaker is doing that, rather than (as he states) trying to change the A&F brand. You’re also layering on the assumption that to “re-brand” would mean to add stigmatize the brand. The filmmaker doesn’t state this at any point. In fact, he notes (humorously, I know, but truthfully) that the brand already carries an undesirable message for some people, and suggests that this made his clothing distribution plan more difficult.

    I’m sure that I’m not being very clear or focused here, so I’ll re-state that in another way. What I mean to say is that pointing out a (clearly objectionable) practice that a company participates in, then circumventing it, is a very reasonable kind of protest. Really, it’s a great kind of protest because it can show that what the company is doing isn’t necessary. Instead of trying to actively harm A&F’s business, the activist is putting the company on the spot. It’s up to A&F to decide whether they’ll defend themselves or choose to make changes.

    You’re also taking some other logical leaps that are misleading and aren’t necessary to what you have to say. For example, the video doesn’t say or imply that people should not give other brands of clothing. There are many clothing drive campaigns, clothing manufacturers, and retailers that accept donated clothing without regard for the brand. The video doesn’t suggest that anyone should stop participating in those efforts.

    I feel that, if you think that the movement is flawed, you could do a better thing by writing a piece that suggests how to alter the message and the action to correct the flaws. Short of that, you might at least avoid ridiculing this filmmaker for taking action.

    Requiring that any public activism must start out with a perfect message, and methods, will make sure that any reasonably specific movement gets shot down. That means that any new activism has to always start from scratch, instead of building and evolving into a successful campaign for change.

  • Vincent

    You’re looking into this too deeply, at the end of the day, homeless people are glad to get whatever they can, and i think it would be more immoral if we didn’t give them A&F clothing, even if it comes from people who do treat this as a “screw A&F” event and do not normally give clothes away.

    So yeah, of course a small fraction of the people who take part in this will think it’s a “Homeless People are Uncool” thing, but it creates an increase in charity, even if for the wrong reasons in some cases – at the end of the day, it’s a good thing.

    • Kim

      I don’t think many homeless people “are glad to get whatever they can.” Homeless people are not garbage cans, they are human beings. We should treat them as such.

  • ramona

    thanks for keeping it real, I’ve read a bit of your work and share your values. this is spot on

  • Manuel Padilla

    I think there are pros and cons to the idea. It would avoid being dehumanizing if the campaign included the homeless (was dependent on their input and was coordinated with the homeless). There is though, intrinsically, a prop quality to the homeless in a gorilla campaign like this which makes it unsavory and naive. I also think that it is helpful to look at the campaign from different angles to see how much distastefulness the campaign retains if you drive more to the issue at hand with regard to A and F’s comments, stopping with abstraction and getting to the specifics of the comments themselves. What if the campaign was trying to get ‘fat’ people to wear the clothing (as symbolic or as a long term tactic), or ‘nerds’, or ….. I think clearly substituting homeless with Hispanic or Black is not a very applicable shift (although I understand why you did that, it is a conceptual mistake made out of a passion for social justice). A and F would clearly be happy (maybe perhaps begrudgingly depending on how racist the company might be) to have hot African American’s or Latino/a’s wearing their clothing (although it is true their ads overwhelmingly display dock side ivy league affluent whites). The point is about ‘beauty’ I think (which yes has all sorts of connotations). But I don’t think the issue is so broad as ‘race’ or ‘marginalized community’. It also seems, as is so chronically the case, there is some confusion over what the strategy is and what the tactic is in this campaign. It is certainly not a very well thought out one. Simplicity is often times more complicated than complexity when it comes to effectiveness. But it is hard to fault people who make attempts as ‘instant campaigns’ as they are generally not that educated about resistance in a social environment. I am sure someone has already come up with a reflection guide for this sort of thing but i’m too lazy to look through material available to me. Often times the availability of tools to accomplish a task is mistaken for the aptitude to accomplish the task. The ends might justify the means (loosely), but the means may not entail the end. Those are my thoughts. Good for you for talking the time to try to look at the issue more holistically and say something about it.

  • SpaceyCasey

    I find this article trite. I saw the stunt as a funny guy turning the tables on the company’s decision to brand themselves as snobs who would rather burn clothes than donate them.
    In your haste to be offended, you may have forgotten that us women interpret humor differently than our male counterparts (for details, see http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/november9/med-humor-110905.html). I think the guy’s intentions were clear – to go virual and get the message he wanted out into the world in a way it would be accepted.
    If you have the moral high ground that you claim, what would you have done that would have been that viral and well-received on social media? Keep in mind, the people that are disgusted with A&F most likely don’t buy their clothing anyway – so boycotting doesn’t seem like a valid course of action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anonieme.reacties Anonieme Reacties

    As a former homeless person, it is clear to me that you don’t understand them.

    • Manuel Padilla

      Why do you say ‘them’? Do ‘they’ not have individual identities or thoughts? Let others speak for themselves, just as you are given room to speak for your self and from your own individual experience.

      • Makale

        He’s saying them because the homeless, as a whole, would LOVE some new clothes to wear. Try thinking before you respond to things.

        • http://twitter.com/amaditalks Amadi

          Some would, sure, but some may not. Some may not want A&F clothes because they don’t want to wear brand labels all over themselves. Some may not want whatever is being offered because it wouldn’t fit them, or wouldn’t fit their needs. Oddly enough, being people they have individual needs, tastes and preferences.

          • Makale

            “Some would, sure, but some may not. Some may not want A&F clothes
            because they don’t want to wear brand labels all over themselves.”

            ..You don’t understand homeless people, do you? They’re not shallow. They’ll accept whatever keeps them warm and alive.

            “Some may not want whatever is being offered because it wouldn’t fit them”

            They get what fits…What shelter would give them clothes they can’t wear?

            “or wouldn’t fit their needs”

            Again…shelter is going to give them what they need.

            “Oddly enough, being people they have individual needs, tastes and preferences.”

            I’ma cut you off at “tastes”. You don’t get to choose at that point. You’re homeless. To choose is a luxury you can’t afford to have. Either wear what you are given and survive, or go naked and die. It’s a harsh truth, yes, but a truth nonetheless.

            Also the guy under me because I don’t feel like spamming:

            “We can play 20 questions all day if you like.”

            Yes we sure can. Do you enjoy losing this game?

            He said “them” because like it or not, they are a group of people. They need clothes, they need food, and they need shelter. Individualism doesn’t matter on those levels because every individual has the same exact needs.

          • Makale

            I’m Katrina now?

            Actually, pretty name, can I keep it?

          • Manuel Padilla

            Again, you miss the point entirely, You are talking about needs (as are many other people….mistakenly). But the central topic of the article is what a homeless person might think of the campaign in relation to how it treats homeless people (or the subject of homelessness) in the process (good or bad). That is the issue being debated, an issue you continue to largely talk around and ignore. Homeless people may differ on how they react to the campaign for different reasons regardless of whether or not they all may agree on ‘liking to get warm clothes’. That is why it is strange for someone to say ‘you don’t understand them [the homeless]‘ with regard to this thread. Again, please keep the topic at hand in mind when you respond to people, stop pretending you know that the content of the original comment was about ‘needs’, and stop reacting to the comments you would like to respond to but which in fact only exist in your head (at least regarding our conversation).

  • http://www.lolpervs.com/ Daisee Dukes

    I agree that the filmmaker’s campaign is flawed and that he is using the homeless to promote his anti-Abercombie agenda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F57h1Zwf5SI

  • ari

    Robyn, I was thinking the same thing. Yes, It’s not the greatest idea on but neither is it so bad.If people give away their a&f clothing to the homeless in order make a point it’s better than not giving away anything at all or giving clothing that are in less of a wearable condition. I don’t think that a majority of the homeless care neither about intention nor issues such as these which to them would be regarded as superficial.

  • ABro1973

    I looked for the video of the author actually doing something for the homeless (as opposed to criticizing and proving how sensitive she is). No luck yet. As far as I can tell, only the people she is criticizing are actually doing anything that is benefiting the homeless in any way. But man, she sure can sit there and think herself into a big old pretentious article!

    • Manuel Padilla

      Do you say that because you think that critical thought before action, or critical thought of action, is somehow pretentious? She might not be the most eloquent and she may have made mistakes, but she gave it some thought. She tried to see implications that might not have been well understood. We need more of that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Itinerant.laborer Heather M. Nugent

    They aren’t trying to make the brand “look bad” they are responding to elitist bullshit and I think it’s a great idea.

  • Claire

    This article would be valid if the campaigners had heard that the CEO doesn’t want ‘uncool’ people to wear A&F and had THEMSELVES chosen homeless people to represent ‘uncool’ people. What actually happened is the CEO specifically chose to burn clothes instead of donating them to the homeless. They are attacking that premise, not just the general premise that A&F is only for cool people. I believe you weren’t fully informed when you wrote this, so the whole argument needs to be adjusted as it is based on a big false assumption.

  • jdrichie

    And just maybe the message is that A&F wants their clothes on “beautiful” people and that the CEO has a limited interpretation of beauty. Possibly the film maker is just encouraging disenchanted A&F brand owners to make their own judgement on who is beautiful… including homeless people. They paid for, they get to determine who is “beautiful enough” to wear it. Beauty is , after all, always in the eye of the beholder.

  • http://twitter.com/alisse_marie Alisse Marie

    Ugh, yes. It’s a totally classist and gross idea.

  • PJ Condit

    The original video and article at Huffpost is clearly comedy and satire, and aimed to spite A&F. This is not a movement about compassion for the poor, so I don’t think there is a danger of the #fitchthehomeless movement gaining real traction.

  • Patches

    Never thought of it that way, its a really good point! Still though, that is only one way of looking at it? Its still making a mockery of Abercrombie and Fitch and the CAO’s disgraceful comments, thus, its a good idea

  • Dave

    Although i understand your objection i think your actually wrong. Brass tacks here is that homeless people exist, they do struggle, Sure its better to help them out without being prodded into action by a sick minded CEO, however im sure that a homeless person would much rather have an A&F hoodie keeping them warm than nothing.. I dont see the harm this does to homeless people. Of course giving them ‘any brand will do’ but the fact is WE DONT DO IT, A&F is better than nothing. These are real people who we let down every day, this doesnt victimise them as a minority, it just increases the chanced of them being warm. no harm. Also it highlights the need for companies to be socially responsible, or the people will rise. Its not Ideal, but it aint bad. The fact is that this will harm A&F sales and highlight how little we do to help the homeless generally. Being all high and mighty about how we view ‘minority’ groups doesnt put clothes on their back. We need to get real, and accept responsibility and accept that there are some people warmer tonight because of this video.
    People are ‘exploited’ everyday to make a point, thats what advertising is

  • http://twitter.com/AgnesWebbAuthor Agnes Webb

    It’s satire! Brilliant satire. But, hey, if it makes a few more people donate clothes to the homeless (landfills are chock-full of textiles), then that wouldn’t be a bad thing, either!

  • Joy

    #Fitchthehomeless could be interpreted in so many different ways, so it’s pointless to argue about what it means or doesn’t mean. In the end, homeless people get clothes, and that’s a good thing.

  • Ann-Marie

    You did not watch the video properly. It is clearly said in the video that Abercrombie BURNS the leftout or damaged clothes from their stores, instead of giving them to the poor and homeless since they don’t want to be associated with them. Therefore, since Abercrombie brings out discrimination to everyone except the “cool kids” , including the homeless to prove a point that THEY are included in(since they are descriminated by Abercrombie ) is fair enough.

  • Matt

    Is this activism? No. Is the writer of this article an over analytical person living a cynical existence? Yes. This is always going to be a fleeting fad. With all round good outcomes. Plus “The implication here is that homeless people are not cool or attractive and the brand can’t be exclusionary when worn by an already excluded group.”- chill out, it’s not finding the lowest of the low and for you to believe this you hold yourself to the belief that you can categorise people into cool and not cool and that you will ultimately have prejudices because of this social construction. Also, don’t use the word ‘amirite’ when trying to make a serious argument, it makes your point instantly invalid because you come across as a pleb. Happy to help with constructive criticism, if you need any further help just let me know. (that’s how you use sarcasm properly, lesson number 1)

  • http://twitter.com/PhoquingWright Patrick Wright

    Based on your logic, one might argue that those who work for charities take advantage of the sick or the deprived to make their living…

    … and you would be right. That’s how the world works. Get over it. It’s a Twitter fad that’ll die away in a week; and you’re just making it live even more by raising these questions.

  • Leigh

    I don’t believe that the campaign is intending to use homeless individuals as a “gross” population, although the tag line was a bit problematic. Instead, it seems like this campaign is trying to make the brand so common that it is no longer seen as a status symbol. Starting by giving the clothes to those who can’t afford them is not a bad place to start, in my mind. In all honesty, we can hit them at the cash registers, but I would assume most people who would spend the cash on the brand in the first place aren’t necessarily voting with their money (this is an assumption, I know).

  • Joe

    I believe this is a good movement however the person who started the Fitch the Homeless campaign should definitely clarify what the movement is about. The movement shouldn’t be used to tarnish the reputation of a company at the expense of homeless people. Rather more emphasis should have been put on the charitable benefits that could come from this movement while also sending a message to Abercrombie.

  • Zzz

    Zzzzzzz

  • Wayne Pannabecker

    I think you are missing the point. This is not about calling the homeless gross, It’s about calling anyone who is not attractive worthy of wearing A&F clothes. YOU REALLY MISSED THE BOAT ON THIS ONE.

  • Meghan

    I agree. It is insulting that the homeless is a marketing tool or that they will take anything tossed to them. There are genuine ways to donate or give them items that they actually need. http://pentopapertherapy.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-homeless-do-not-need-your-old.html

  • Canuck Girl

    A&F stands for elitism. They do not want anyone other than the ‘cool kids’ to wear their clothes. While it would be equally bothersome to the company if the campaign involved the distribution of clothing to overweight individuals, of course that is not possible as the clothing is intentionally designed to not fit overweight people. That said, if it were possible and the overweight people were asked if they wanted to participate and accepted, I would not find this offensive to them at all. I think your opposition to the clothes being distributed to these folks who need them assumes that they were not at all informed of the agenda or don’t agree with it’s premise. I see that as fairly paternalistic and presumptive. These people are not children. Perhaps the issue was explained to them and they were as appalled as the rest of us and were quite willing to accept the clothing and help make the desired point. Do you know that to be untrue? Would that even make a difference to you? In fact, have you asked any homeless people what their thoughts are on this campaign, or are you just speaking for them? Lastly, while I agree that furthering any opinions that homeless people are unworthy of respect and dignity would be completely unacceptable, I don’t see that point being presented at all. They were identified as a group, like overweight people, whom the company would not want to wear their clothing because of their lack of the ‘cool factor.’ I personally cannot conceive of anyone, including homeless people who could possibly see the plight of homelessness as ‘cool’. That is a far cry from intended to say that they are disgusting.

  • A

    I get what you’re saying, but I don’t agree. I agree with the commenters who have pointed out that it’s not that we as society are looking down at homeless people, it’s that homeless people are clearly the last people on earth Mr. Egotistical CEO wants to see wearing his brand. He’s the one discriminating, not us. This is evidenced by the fact that he BURNS all excess clothing rather than donating it to homeless people or others who need it the most. The whole reason this campaign started was because of this disgusting fact, not because of other comments Ego-Man made.

    And finally, does it really matter WHY people are giving away clothing to the homeless? The great thing about this campaign is that it is forcing people to be reminded of their duty to serve others, and people who may not have been donating clothing are now taking the initiative to do so. Who cares whether it’s done out of disdain or true compassion? Isn’t it a good thing that a need is being met?

  • rd

    I’m a bit bored of people doing vanity projects like these under the guise of bettering society.

  • LolaMar

    If you have to start your argument with an insult, then it probably isn’t a very strong argument. If you really think that the CEO is the only one scorning the homeless and that the reason this is getting so much attention is because everyone else LOVES the homeless and just wants to be charitable, and get back at ‘The Man,’ then I question your judgment. The video does not say “if you’re going to donate, then why not go the extra distance and find some AF clothes…” Nope. Not what he says. That is your inference. He specifically gives instructions about donating AF clothing to the poor in order to smear AF. Not about charitable works. Totally about making a political point with perhaps a nice byproduct of some homeless people getting more clothes.

    • Wieke

      “If you have to start your argument with an insult, then it probably isn’t a very strong argument.” Is callin someone’s arguments weak not insulting?
      I see that you don;t think that these people who now go out to get clothes and give them to the homeless would otherwise do so. So This viral video and all the attention that it gets is making people help (in a specific way), that would otherwise not bother.. By stating that it is bad because of the message and that people should therefore not participate is to ignore the real results: people are being helped by people that otherwise would not help. If you really think it more impotant that we focus on charity over politics, just ignore the message and be happy people are being helped….

      • LolaMar

        Calling someone an idiot is an insult. Pointing out a weak argument is, well, often part of arguing. I think nynetguy’s comment was more insult and condescension than any kind of compelling argument, and therefore, weakened whatever point he was trying to make. As to your comment, I did not say that people should not give to charity. I think they certainly should. But I don’t think this campaign will really help the homeless that much, even if it did catch on and people were compelled to follow the instructions in the video. This has to do with the costs and resources involved in processing donated clothing (places like the Red Cross don’t even deal in used clothing at all because it’s actually cheaper to buy new). With donated items, you have to worry about things like bugs, sterilization, and then sorting and matching them up with the right people. Not to mention dealing with all the items that are not useable; those have to be stored, discarded, or donated elsewhere, if needed elsewhere. This is why you should ask the shelter or charity what kinds of things they NEED, and donate accordingly – I can almost guarantee you that they’re not going to be requesting a bunch of t-shirts with AF on them. I think the ‘helping the homeless’ thing is just a rationalization by participants to make using a disenfranchised group of people as pawns in political messaging an okay thing to do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1814731203 Anthony Morris

    You can view it however you want, but I look at it this way. A starving man doesn’t care WHY you are feeding him as long as he can eat. A freezing person doesn’t care WHY you are clothing them as long as they get warm. Stop trying to find wrong with everything people do and let them make whatever point they want to make as long as some good comes out of it.

  • David Rodriguez

    It’s not the association with the homeless that’s shaming Abercrombie and Fitch, it’s the spotlight that’s being put on their policies and practices. Abercrombie and Fitch is ashamed of the homeless not the maker of this video who is associating himself with them. The idea is homeless people need clothes which they do and Abercombie needs a wake-up call.

    It’s exploitative sure but it’s time to stop treating things as black and white. This article wants to say, exploitative=bad, end of story. But the real truth is that some aspects of the video are good and some aspects are bad. For me there is a net positive of clothes for the homeless and attention on issues that are important to me.

    If we are going to make the author of this video into a bad guy than we are never going to have enough momentum to make any real change in this country. There will be too many people alienated by any given movement for change to occur.

    I think there is a larger problem of trying to polarize every argument in America into two directly oppositional sides. When people write articles that over-simplify issues like this they become the same as Rush Limbaugh, Air America, Glenn Beck or any other person that wants to devolve a complex issue like poverty into a one-sided rant.

    On a side-note, all these disclosures about homeless shelter work bother me. This is America you have a right to your opinion no matter how many hours of shelter work you’ve done.

  • Katherine

    Some people on here are so dumb. The CEO never “specifically” said he’d rather burn clothes than give them to the homeless. An anonymous District Manager for A&F told a news source once that they won’t give them to the homeless, NOT the CEO. JUST because some guy who made a video for his 15 minutes of fame said it’s true doesn’t mean it’s true.

  • Gretchen

    You can’t sit with us! Or wear the same clothes as us! FAT WHORE.

  • http://www.feminspire.com/ Rhiannon Payne

    Okay, I’m tired of all these comments that are like “Well this guy is doing something good for humanity, he’s donating clothes to homeless people, we should be celebrating him, not tearing him down.”

    Uh, no. Yes, this guy is giving clothes to homeless people. Which, on a totally surface level, is a good thing. But when he films himself giving these people some shitty A&F shirt that he picked up at Goodwill he is taking a little bit of their humanity in the process.

    This is a big stunt to make a viral video, and he’s taking advantage of the homeless community to score some internet points. Do you think this guy didn’t FULLY INTEND for his video to blow up all over social media? And do you think his personal brand, or his blog or website or youtube channel or whatever it is he does isn’t going to HUEGLY benefit from this?

    But yeah, he’s such a great, generous guy for giving homeless people some old shirts that he bought for pennies.

  • discordany

    To be fair, this isn’t so much a counter to the “I only want cool people wearing our clothes” bullshit as it is a counter to the “we burn our extra product because we’d rather do that than see it on poor people” bullshit. It was the A&F CEO who initially said that he didn’t want his brand associated with the homeless (choosing instead to BURN them), to which the Fitch the Homeless guy said “why the fuck not?” and started A) helping people out and B) spiting the A&F CEO in the process. I do think this is mentioned in the video (at least in passing).

    However, since a lot of people don’t realize this and are more aware of the statements related to cool and attractive consumers, the negative implications you discuss in your post are unfortunately being made. Rather than fight what could be a very good thing, though, I’d say it’s more important to make the message VERY clear: this isn’t because homeless people are “less cool” or “less attractive” – it’s because A&F has taken an active and public stance against donating their extra goods to people in need, so we’ve decided to show them the error of their ways by doing it for them.

  • Starlight

    I don’t understand why a good thing can’t just be a good thing regardless of the circumstances. So what if he films himself? He’s encouraging people to donate to a good cause. His video is spreading awareness and putting the idea to donate clothes into people’s minds. No matter what it is, there always has to be something wrong with WHY people are doing things or HOW they do them. My guess is that none of you have ever been homeless before or even close to it. I have and I lived in poverty most of my life. Any act of kindness is cherished. A homeless person will likely never know the circumstances of the clothes that were donated; all they will know is that someone thought of them in a world where people rarely do and that they were grateful for it. That is to say, acts of kindness are appreciated no matter what caused them. If you are given incentives for donating to an animal shelter or to AIDS research, are you demonized because you took the free perks? Does the deed then not matter because you got something in return? The truth is, you still helped the cause. That is what matters. If celebrities donate to charity only to protect their images, so what? The causes needed that money/food/clothing, people were helped and that is what counts.

    Some people just enjoy acting as if they’re “sticking up for the less fortunate” by protecting them. But from what? Good quality clothes? You feel like the homeless cannot stick up for themselves so you’re “sticking up for them,” but actually you’re just perpetuating the stereotype of privileged people who pretend to care. You’re only discouraging people from helping them. This is a big chance for the homeless to receive some compassion, a large viral video to plant the seed of charity in the minds of youth. Why squash it just because he’s not doing it right according to your standards? Even if this kid doesn’t truly care, at least he’s DOING something. When was the last time any of you went out of your way to give a homeless person on the street clothes? To give them ANYTHING?

    The message is that A&F doesn’t have the right to look down on these people and that homeless people have just as much right as “elite” people to wear and own nice clothes. I can’t believe people are turning such a positive campaign into a chance to pick at how wrong this kid is for “filming himself” and making a video knowing it would go viral. He’s doing a good thing. Just let it be. What harm could possibly come of this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/thejeanmax Jean-Maxime Fangous

    Your article is wrong from beginning to the end for one reason. What created the backlash.
    It is not because of the size issue. It is about the CEO saying that he would rather burn clothe that are return to them than give them away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rabbii Rabbii Abu Rahman

    They are not saying Homeless people are dirty and gross, maybe thats what you got from that Youtube video, What was said that A&F owner said that their clothes are only for cool kids who belong, and how they rather burn their cloth than give it to the needy. By giving the clothes to the homeless A&F’s exclusion of people who are Falls under a made up category is being challenged.

  • Frej

    I think you’re missing the point. What these guys are doing is trying to associate A&F’s brand with something else than douchebag types, which is the *only* target group for the brand. It would be hard to give the clothes to other people that A&F don’t want to associate themselves with, because who would accept second hand clothes from a stranger if they can afford their own? Donating to homeless people is just a win-win. Wether they are homeless, trailer trash or hipsters would be the same. The point is to disrupt the brand’s association with what I assume are narcissistic rich kids.

  • George

    It’s not dehumanizing the homeless in any way. I just find it fascinating when people try so hard to get offended by things that aren’t even about them. They like to feel self pity and try to see the negative in everything. When I watched the video, the message I got was “Mike says you aren’t good enough. He would burn the clothes before giving them to you. You know what, I think you are good enough.” They are giving to homeless to show they are people too, and that this “image” they want is wrong.

    In the end of the day it still accomplishes two things no matter what. For one, it raises awareness on the piece of crap that is A&F. The second thing is, people are donating to charities. It will raise awareness regardless I guarantee people who planned on donating A&F found other clothes they realized they haven’t worn in awhile and gave them away while they were at it. I’m sure that’s not the majority of cases but in the end, it’s not doing anything but helping people. The only negative to come out of this are self centered people like yourself, who feel they need to take on the worlds burden and try to stop people from donating, because they believe it’s wrong. Donating for the right or wrong reasons still is donating and it will help someone, somewhere. Not everyone is handing out clothes to people on the street, they are donating to good will and people will get the choice to pick what clothes they want. Children will get clothes they couldn’t have before… I 100% support this initiative and if anyone took the time to really look at it, it has a good intent and has a good result.

    If two rich guys wanted to make a statement who could donate more to cancer research just for a competition, would that be wrong? The end result is money for cancer research, and that is all that matters, that something good happens.

  • john

    thats a really stupid article. You missed the point.

  • LLPVT

    Looks like a 3-way-win situation to me: homeless people get free clothes, young people are encouraged to support homeless people (which they probably wouldn’t otherwise do), and a bad CEO gets a PR nightmare. What’s not to love?

  • jojo

    The simple message of Karber’s video [and his texts that you did not mention at all] is: “A&F should not judge about people – everyone is free to wear what he/she wants.” And: “Who are you to judge who is cool and who is not? Why are you telling that homeless people are not the ‘right’ persons to wear your clothing?”

    It seems like you have totally misunderstood Karber’s idea.

  • Dida

    Honestly, if I am homeless I wont be hating on ppl giving me A&F clothes. I don’t care what their intentions are. I got new (to me) nice cloth to wear. I will be happy :)

  • Maggie

    Like some of the other commentators, I don’t think there’s any suggestion from the video that they think homeless people are gross. The CEO says A+F is exclusionary and including homeless people strikes against that idea. The video is slick and flippant, though. The filmmakers call far more attention to A+F than homelessness.

    Why do dismissable, meaningless statements from a CEO sound so important? They’re not.

  • James Lovatt

    This article misses the point in my opinion. Homeless people are pretty much the opposite of the cool, thin, rich people who the CEO of A&F states as the only people he wants wearing his clothes. Its simply an attempt to counteract this horribly opinionated and exclusive company’s policy whilst doing some good

  • somedude

    i stopped reading when the writer considered “being given free clothing” as equivalent to “being exploited”. clearly demonstrates a lack in problem solving capabilities

  • Johannes Milram

    The simple message of Karber’s video [and his texts that you did not mention at all] is: “A&F should not judge about people – everyone is free to wear what he/she wants.” And: “Who are you to judge who is cool and who is not? Why are you telling that homeless people are not the ‘right’ persons to wear your clothing?”

    It seems like you have totally misunderstood Karber’s idea.

  • Klaus Woodward

    I really appreciated the article, after watching the video I decided to see what others were saying and your piece gave me some food for thought. However, I am inclined not to agree with your point of view. The video is designed to be a viral video, a rapid share, rapid watch piece of film that gets the point across. Sure, we could have watched a film that is twice as long where the activist sorts out the clothes into gender and sizes and provides facilities for the people in reciept of the clothes to try them on. But that wasn’t the point. The point is to highlight, perhaps unnecessarily, the arrogance of a multinational’s CEO.

    I agree that the ‘use’ of the homeless community for publicity, etc, is not something to be taken lightly, but this video has got people talking about it like never before. ‘homeless’ ‘homeless’ ‘homeless’ on message boards on twitter on google. These people are being talked about and as a result, those who are able to, and possibly do not normally, are handing out clothes to homeless people to prove a point, and almost as an aside, are giving people, who may have otherwise struggled for clothing, clothing.

    We can see whatever we wish to see in a campaign like this. You choose to see the fact that these people are being used as pawns in a big viral game. And maybe this is true, but on the flipside, the homeless people are getting publicity and new clothes, and I have a feeling that although they would not appreciate the fact they are potentially being used as a marketing tool, fresh clothes and a friendly face maybe trump that.

    Quite likely this idea will go the way of KONY2012, a mass publicity stunt that then fades slowly into the background.

    What the Fitch CEO said is dispicable and he deserves to be reprimanded for it, this will certainly damage his reputation and could, see the company make reparations, possibly to the homeless, for the anger they have caused.

    But who knows. I look forward to seeing how this story shall develop.

    Thank you for your most interesting article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/seanfarrelluk Sean Farrell

    bottom line – taking advantage of people in need to further your own agenda = bad.

  • Penny

    He did it because Abercrombie&Fitch burns the clothes they didn’t sell instead of donating them like other brands do since they don’t want anyone to see poor people walking around wearing A&F clothes.

  • Mark

    I’m going to give a slightly different opinion here:

    I see that a lot of people are praising the video’s intentions of attempting to teach the big nasty CEO a lesson, or pissing off or what have you. But In all honesty, do you really think that he’s going to change his mind about the company he envisions, or anything else for that matter? I’ve read what he’s said, and I’ll agree that it’s terrible. But I find it shameful that we’ve come to a point in our society where if one person voices a controversial opinion it’s society’s job to change that person. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Just stop buying A&F’s clothes. Don’t go out and make a video of yourself giving clothes to the homeless. Because as soon as you put that video on the internet it goes from charity work to working an agenda.

  • Cassie

    Why do you associate giving things to those in need as a bad thing? Do you think the children in Africa get a little bit pissed off because “omfg those aid parcels, who do they think they are to look down on us like that?” The idea of the campaign is to show that not only the cool skinny kids wear A&F. Please stop trying to pick a fight with everything.

    Please watch this video. You’ll learn a lot.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-742HFpXxU

  • The Crombied Zombie

    I appreciate your comments and thoughts on this topic.

    That said I was thinking about starting a movement of my own and I wanted some feedback from you prior to my launch…

    #fitchthefatties. We could potentially alter the size of the clothing so they fit bigger people. Or we could just have anyone and everyone where fitch clothing that simply doesnt fit. Whether you are too big for their offered sizes or not you would just rock fitch duds Chris Farley style #fatguyinalittlefitch

    #crombiethezombies… This would play on the fact that zombies are actually totally hip in cool, in that creepy undead way that they do so well. However, as there are no real zombies that I know of. Therefore, we could give crombies out to the same skid row group this kid went to, but instead we would only give our crombie gear to the totally decrepit looking homeless. “#crombiethezombies where just being without simply isn’t enough”

    #Fitchthehitched give away clothing to newly married couples, preferably traditionally married individuals, that start gaining weight because they are finally with someone they love and give up the whole trying to be fit and attractive thing. This one feels pretty lame, but we can all blame traditional marriage for that. Damn these societal confines!!!

    FYI these are all just working taglines so I am def open to suggestions.

    P.S. I am homeless, black, white, hispanic, gay, have sleep apnea, and am the only actual zombie to have found love, and while I am not married, I am engaged… #hewenttoJareds! I don’t mean to be stuck up or anything, but I am actually pretty thin and was even before I bled out and began losing large portions of flesh from my body. So, I apologize if this is offensive to anyone who is overweight.

  • http://twitter.com/jeannettg Jeannett

    Just wanted to pop in and say that I wrote a similar post yesterday (hadn’t seen yours) and I’m getting the same types of negative comments (which I knew would happen, yet it still surprises me)…you know, the whole “Homeless people would happily trade their dignity for a t-shirt, and you are a privileged jerk for being more concerned with maybe hurting their feelings than helping them.”

    Right.

    All of that to say ::fist bump:: I’m glad people are taking notice and speaking up about this. The homeless are our modern day lepers and it sucks because no one even realizes it. Obviously.

    Related: tweens should stay off the internet.

  • Marcellus

    unsold A&F clothing is deliberately NOT donated and instead burned. Fitch the Homeless isn’t about making the brand “dirty” and “gross”, it’s about making the brand accessible, because the CEO has said explicitly that he wants A&F to be exclusionary and is proud of that. The people who came up with this project are doing multiple good things, i.e. clothing the homeless with clean, good condition clothing, saving material that would otherwise be burned to “preserve the brand”, and making a strong point about how nothing should be denied to a person on the basis of where they fit on the societal/social ladder.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m being optimistic, but there are certainly good aspects of this and I’d rather not be a cynic and assume that the people who started this project are intending to marginalize the homeless or abuse them in anyway.

  • concerned

    I think you just wrote this salty article so your blog would get some traffic. This wasn’t done with the intent to marginalize or disenfranchise homeless people, so why try to spin it? Write about something real and quit wasting everybody’s time, especially yours.

  • Nobody Special

    Has anyone stopped to think that the homeless themselves would want to participate in this? The fact that someone is stepping back and saying,”Oh, this is wrong because ‘Fitch the Homeless’ is making fun of homeless” is speaking for the homeless without first getting the opinion of the homeless which I see as almost being as bad as what is being implied.

    I can’t speak for the homeless, but if I were homeless I would be glad to get one of those shirts and park my ass out in front of A&F. After all, it’s the society fostered by douches like CEO Michael Jeffries that causes homelessness in the first place. You aren’t someone unless you wear their logos and live in suburbia or downtowns, and if you can’t afford to live and dress like them, you can’t hope to get a job. It’s a matter of robbing form the rich and giving to the poor in my book.

  • Kiana

    Its a good intention, just not very well thought out. =/ Thanks for bringing light to the situation, Sara!

  • Moose

    Any thing that draws attention to the homeless is a good thing. AND they get free clothes that don’t smell like piss. Win-win

  • KB

    My thoughts EXACTLY when I first watched that video. The concept isn’t a bad one, the marketing of it is terrible though. If they had said instead, “We are going to make AF become a good responsible corporate citizen, whether they want to be or not” that would have gone over a lot better with me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584826426 Evey Styles

    The
    entire point of Fitch the Homeless was to make fun of the CEO’s point
    about not wanting homeless people to wear his clothing. He exploited
    them first, thus making them seem “gross, dirty, shameful (insert
    negative attribute here)”. Now, they are now exploiting his brand to be
    nice to fellow humans.

    There
    are videos posted showing people surprising homeless people with pizza
    and free clothes and pretty much everything else under the sun. It is a movement of
    sorts. To men, this just came about as another facet of that movement. I don’t
    think the writer of this piece thought this through, and I have to
    wonder if she even knew what the CEO had said about homeless people in
    the first place before sitting down to write her opinion on the matter.

  • Meghan

    I love this, and felt very similarly! Wrote this yesterday; I work at a homeless shelter and it is treatment like this that is so frustrating. Homeless people are not pawns for marketing or vendettas, and while there are needed items – old skinny jeans in XS are not the items that they need. http://pentopapertherapy.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-homeless-do-not-need-your-old.html

  • Yasmin

    The guy who was giving A&F clothing to the homeless described people who wear the clothes as looking like “Douchebags and date rapists”, yet somehow some people think he is not dehumanizing & using the homeless for his own agenda. That dude does not care about the homeless in any way.

  • http://haruska.com haruska

    I’m pretty sure this movement is in response to the CEO burning surplus clothing so homeless people can’t wear them (and have a negative brand image).

    I’m not sure taking second hand clothes to the homeless anyway in spite of the company’s douchebag actions is taking advantage of the homeless.

  • Jacob

    I definitely agree with you Sara. Targeting clothing aid at a minority for any intentions other than being helpful is dishonest and requires a critical reevaluation. I also agree with your call-to-action–just stop purchasing A&F! It’s that easy. Negative consequences of A&F’s exclusionary marketing strategies and this new activism as a counter will eventually bite both of them in their asses. Thanks for sharing this!

  • johnt2

    disagree with your article. Homeless people are *people* too. You sound like a shill for A&F’s PR department.

  • Critical

    I think you have TOTALLY missed the point of Fitch the Homeless. It’s less of an activist campaign and more of a social shaming technique. People Fitching are not exploiting the homeless; they are inverting the CEO’s self-indulgent, elitist marketing by re-branding. The filmmaker said outrightly in the video that he was using this type of “charity” to re-brand, thus highlighting his intention not to make a statement about homelessness but about the company. He could have just as easily targeted another stigmatized group alienated and mocked by Jeffries (A&F CEO)–say plus size women–but the damage would have been antithetical to the advertising. Donating clothing is a common practice (for good or for ill–not the point of this video) which gave the Fitchers a platform to subvert A&F’s desire to dress the self-proclaimed hegemonic class of beautiful poeple. The thick sarcasm, social-media savviness, and cinematography demonstrates that the viral movement is a humiliation tactic to dishonor the company, discredit the brand, subvert their narcissism, and create a massive counterattack that makes not just the “cool kids” but everyone steer clear of A&F.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1141610582 Loren Joseph Lemos

    Well said! The Homeless aren’t a separate population, they’re our parents, our siblings, our old friends from elementary school, they’re musicians and engineers and teachers and historians. Dumping clothes on them like they’re nothing more than charity cases is dehumanizing, whether or not the clothes themselves are useful.

  • Trevor

    What if too much is being made of this whole thing already and you’re just adding fuel to a ridiculous and misplaced fire?

  • MDeal

    Not going to argue the merits of this ‘rebranding’, but the A/F CEO should think about who MAKES these clothes for the ‘cool kids’ in the first place. By his definition I’ll bet the ‘cool kids’ in Bangladesh, Pakistan and China aren’t the ones making pennies an hour or per garment. Many American clothing companies are built on the backs of the ‘uncool’ (ie. people who are often just happy to have work).
    He offended and demoralized any one who has ever worked production for
    that company or purchased/allowed their kids to purchase their product,
    be they thin, fat, rich or poor. I’ve never set foot in one of their stores and he offended me. Maybe burning a pile of artfully distressed A/F t-shirts in effigy would be a better response?

  • MDeal

    I’m a plus-size girl so I’m going to Goodwill, find some teeny-tiny A/F t-shirts, sew them together and make my own statement.

  • James

    I like this article, and I think you make a lot of valid points, but I think that unfortunately, the vast majority of homeless people ARE really gross. I understand that homelessness is often circumstantial, and there are a lot of people on the streets who shouldn’t be, but they’re sort of a minority within a minority. The majority of homeless people are actually mentally disturbed and have serious hygiene issues. I dont think that there is this much negativity to focus on. i support the idea of destroying A&F, but I also do think that it would be a benefit to the homeless. if people get really into this act, and homeless people all start getting a ton of A&F clothes, I think it would be a big step up for them. even a douchey A&F shirt looks better than a dirty old rag. and i understand with enough time, even an A&F shirt can become a dirty rag…. im just sayin. I have friends in Social work, i empathize with the situation being discussed here, but homeless people have enough going on already that people choose to make fun of, i dont think dressing them up in A&F would make matters any worse… perhaps this mass donation of clothing is what we need to unite homeless and homed people in this world. we can all strive for a world where everyone has a home! and nobody wears abercrombie!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3yCcXgbKrE

  • SpaceManAndy

    If you were to explain the societal implications, and take the clothes away, would they thank you?

  • http://twitter.com/mlledeejay Deejay

    Completely agree!

  • Action Bronson

    I think I totally disagree with you in every way, but that could be cos the way you write is so try-hard and in my face.

  • Uh-huh

    Uhmuhgosh. This is being way over-analyzed. Ultimately it is GIVING HOMELESS PEOPLE CLOTHES. Who cares about the social implications, homeless people are homeless, there will almost certainly always be homeless people, weather or not you think that this is emphasizing the “grossness” of homeless people doesn’t really matter. Is this issue offending homeless people, or middle class America? I’m pretty sure that the homeless folks are just happy to be receiving clothes, free clothes, that they most definitely need.

  • wat

    Good god activists are an irritating group of people. The first group’s “holier than thou” approach was directed towards Finch for making fat people feel bad. And now this group is trying to make the first group feel bad because they’re apparently making homeless people feel bad.

    People are starving and being slaughtered in third world countries, yet you guys want to talk about homeless people’s self-esteem and some clothing company that doesn’t want to make t-shirts for fat people. I hope none of you ever wonder why it’s so easy for some people to just not give a flying fuck about your self-righteous whining.

  • Christine

    I don’t think people want to be labeled PERIOD! I also think it is extremely exploitative, and to ask to tweet or facebook about it is simply a request to help someone’s social experiment go viral. I have no doubt the author of this video has good intentions, but there is something kony-esque about it!

  • OSDY

    I see your concern, but i don’t agree with it. As much as id like this to be an idealistic world, it’s not. So in theory, giving homeless people this could be seen as a butt end joke to the homeless, but, it’s not. It’s giving them cloathing in response to people pushing an agenda they might have. Everyone does it. I could say the same about this entry. Realistically A&F made a comment with the intent to market, it might be bad PR, but most of their usual demographic doesn’t care, meanwhile, everyone indifferent is just being incited to market their name

  • http://twitter.com/Luke_DeGross Luke DeGross

    Peter Griffin voice “Oh My God Who The Hell Cares”

  • Sue

    Sara, I absolutely agree with you. That crossed my mind early on as I watched his video.

  • http://twitter.com/cab1024 Chuck Baldwin

    Or maybe it’s just that the homeless appear to represent the opposite ideal of what the Fitch CEO is targeting exclusively: rich white people.

  • http://twitter.com/cab1024 Chuck Baldwin

    Better yet, sub in fat, unshaved rednecks in camo and blaze orange. Because that’s the evolution of A&F’s original demographics: American sportsmen from the early 1900s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/seanfarrelluk Sean Farrell

    but.. but… all of those homeless people were fully clothed…

  • guest

    You should honestly read The Story of B. Some people choose to be homeless. Its a choice. He could have given them to random people on the street and still would’ve been criticized. Get off your high horse and go solve world hunger.

  • StallChaser

    If you actually watch the video, at no point does he ever say anything about homeless people being “dirty” or “gross”. It was about giving people that the CEO would consider “undesirable” clothing that he doesn’t want them to have. Unless you agree with the CEO at some level that they are in fact undesirable, you have no reason to be offended.

  • Deedee

    If A&F had instead said they would rather burn their clothes than
    let Mexicans, Orientals, Blacks, or even fat people wear them, and
    these people proceeded to give out the clothes to the above peoples, I
    personally would not see a problem either, considering their goal is to
    make A&F mad… The overall tone of the video is more of a *piss off
    A&F* than anything else. Why do we need to look at this video and
    see people who are performing charity for the wrong reasons? Why can’t
    we just look at this video and think, “oh, here’s a hate video against
    A&F” and leave it at that?

    If these people’s goals are to be
    charitable or good, then yes, maybe their Fitch the Homeless campaign
    is not a good idea. But if their goal is to make A&F angry (maybe
    they couldn’t afford or fit A&F in their middle school years and are
    looking for vengeance .. or something) then they are doing fine. Not
    every action is meant to be nice and helpful. Sometimes we just wanna
    punch someone in the face, and I think that’s all these people really
    meant to do.

  • Stu

    Oh my God, shut up. Shut up shut up shut up. Now a guy can’t even help the homeless while lambasting an obviously arrogant, selfish prick without somebody saying, “Gosh, but I don’t know if it’s entirely proper.”

    Shut up shut up shut up.

    Read the real news and find something real to write an article about. There are plenty of controversies in the world. We don’t you to create false ones.

  • Esteban

    Sorry, really going to have to disagree with this article. I work for an agency in Oakland, CA that provides long-term housing options to homeless individuals and families. I’ve been doing this line of work for over ten years. I think this article may be well meaning, but it seems clear that not a single homeless person was asked how they felt about this “brand readjustment” project. At least from my experience, people without housing come from a wide range of circumstances (veterans, seniors, former foster youth, disabled, substance abusers, ex-felons, chronic health care recipients, just plain unlucky people, etc.) and cannot be “substituted in for another minority group,” because they only thing they have in common is a lack of a basic need. They have very little time to worry about whether the clothes on their back, or any other donation they receive, for that matter are “propping” them up, or exploiting them. Clothing is clothing, regardless of the pitch or the angle. They are struggling to stay fed, clothed, housed, healthy and free from violence, not worrying about whether or not people think they are “gross” or even if they are being used to prove a point. Trust me, they already know and they don’t give a shit about middle class guilt. You know why? Because they are fucking homeless!! They’re too busy being kicked around by the system and dealing with bedbugs and headlice and urine-soaked bedding to wonder if their clothing label “means” anything. If you asked them about stigmatization, I guarantee they will tell you that they don’t feel outcast because of Michael Jeffries or Greg Karber or Sara Luckey or myself. They feel outcast because of whatever situation caused their homelessness in the first place and a society that passes the buck on dealing with the causes of poverty. Wherever a helping hand comes from, from an over-privileged white kid or their local non-profit or a anonymous stranger, it really doesn’t matter. I will agree, that it you want to make a difference, stop buying A&F altogether.

  • Trevor

    Sara Luckey probably wears A&F.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ALPHAMANIAC Darlene Griggs Floyd

    I do NOT believe Greg Karber’s intention was to belittle the homeless, but to make the point that ALL people should be treated equally and that no one should have to prove to be “deserving” to wear a name brand clothing.
    The point is to show Jeffries that he does NOT have a say as to who is “allowed” to wear the brand. I believe Karber chose the homeless because they are the very least likely to shop or wear “his” product/brand! The writer of this column has made ridiculous accusations making Karber to be an insensitive person, as well as spewed extreme negativity against our societies’ homeless. Shame on you and Jeffries!!!

  • Macy

    You argue this campaign is exploiting the homeless, but Abercrombie exploits the lives of many children to make the clothes in the first place? Surely it is better to attempt to make ‘Fitch the homeless’ successful in the hope it will prevent Abercrombie from exploiting more children to make its over-priced clothes?

  • http://twitter.com/jaypsyd Jason Evan Mihalko

    It’s so sad how so many are finding it difficult to see the pain caused by using homeless people as a prop to embarrass a disgusting brand by using the trope of homeless-as-disgusting people.

    They are people. See them as such.

    ___

    http://www.drjasonmihalko.com

    http://irreverentpsychologist.blogspot.com/2013/05/lets-play-dress-up-homelessness-and.html

  • Kaitlyn

    The intention of the video and of “Fitch the homeless” was pure. It is not meant to say that “dirty and gross” people can wear this brand, it’s a drastic approach to say that anyone can and should be able to. That clothes are clothes, and serve bigger purposes than what A&F thinks. I think the message of the movement is entirely positive and I think it’s sad people are trying to find a way to tear it down and find the negative in it. By simply not buying A&F clothing, sure that could make a small difference, but this exposure gives people a reason to do more than that. And I think that with this clothes giving project to homeless populations, it will help them more than just some additional clothes. This gets people thinking more about homeless folk and others ways they can help. Stop raining on the positivity! With all the horrid things happening in the world today I think this is a great movement and we should let it fly.

  • ThreeOranges

    What a simple-minded reaction to a fairly clever campaign.

    To suggest that the people running this campaign are doing it to make the brand look bad is to suggest that they agree with Mike Jeffries’ position that certain people are too “ugly” or “uncool” to wear his company’s clothes. Obviously, they do not. It is a campaign that is explicitly about inclusion and about infuriating anyone who thinks in exclusionary terms.

    It is, in short, a massive trolling exercise in which you take a moron’s idiot concept and use it against him, such that the only person hurt is the moron himself.

    We know the homeless don’t hurt the brand … we know that the clothes should have been donated in the first place. But Mike Jeffries is going to be a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ to the full extent that his plasticine face will allow knowing that all this imaginary damage is happening to his brand.

    The fact that these people wearing the clothes doesn’t damage the brand is the whole point of the campaign.

  • December27

    I’m glad to have so much company in my discomfort over this stunt.

    I did like a suggestion I saw for people to pull A&F merchandise from their own closets, and encourage their friends to do so, and even to buy them from thrift shops, and donate them to homeless shelters and other charities that give clothing to the poor. That could feel very satisfying, albeit without the publicity-stunt aspect. Another idea, which would take more thought and effort, would be to recruit some downtrodden folks to join in the joke voluntarily–to wear the clothes and agree to be photographed. I’ve never been homeless, but I have been destitute, and I would have been tickled to participate in something like that.

  • Jake

    Homeless people are dirty and gross. It’s time for this country to stop treating everyone equal and start giving trophies to the winners. Not everyone on the team for competing

  • http://www.dittymac.blogspot.com/ Virginia Llorca

    So I give clothing and books and appliances, etc., away in plastic bags to social agencies that bring a truck to my door after soliciting my donations. Maybe I should mark everything ‘not suitable for this that or the other thing’.

  • Kai

    I think this criticsm misses the point. You forgot the part where he mentions that A&F destroy clothing instead of donating it to the needy. So the idea here is despite A&Fs selfish desires to prevent poor or homeless people to wear the clothes, the people “Fitch the homeless” to counteract this. He makes a joke about how the homeless were reluctant to take the clothes because they didn’t want to appear as narcissistic date rapists… Which by my logic is an insult against the clothing, not the homeless. I just don’t see any abuse or slight against homeless people here.

  • jaci

    It’s not to make the brand look shitty it’s to show that anyone can wear the clothes, even people who don’t fit abercrombie’s criteria.

  • Morticon

    The point is being missed here. The point is not to exploit the homeless and laugh at how “dirty” or “scummy” people are wearing the clothes, the point is challenging at Mike Jeffries’ idea of what makes a human an ideal human. Mike Jeffries said he would burn his clothes before donating them to the homeless, so this movement defies that by actually clothing the homeless WITH the clothes that Jeffries is so certain they don’t deserve. They are not the butt of a joke, they are a resistance force. This movement is showing that a human is a human, and Jeffries’ ideals are ignorant and primitive.

  • ehhh

    I think one of the real intentions here was bringing attention to the homeless situation and how their treated, in this case by a company that makes their point by burning their unsold clothes rather than donate. Why? Because it gives them a ‘bad image’ when really it shouldn’t even be considered bad no matter who wears it, which I believe was the point. He’s not trying to make A&F clothes look bad, just showing that they shouldnt be exclusionary to a point where donating is out of the question. Really, he’s just doing what he believes they should already be doing. And do you really think he made this viral for the sake of sensationalism? Or maybe to get people to look into donating in their respective areas? And even if it was for attention, people are still going out and helping anyway. The video itself was a tad obnoxious I’ll admit, but let’s not get super pissy and call it a really bad idea. Let’s not forget, he’s giving people clothes from a company that actively and purlosesly refuses to do so.

  • SS

    REALLY? What about the fact that the writer of this article is apparently “writing on behalf of the homeless” and supposing that she can speak for the entire homeless community? Perhaps the homeless wanted to take part in backlashing against the AF CEO? They couldn’t — because they wouldn’t have the money to purchase their clothes for a statement. My point is that the author of this article has gone overboard with the “defend people who can not speak for themselves” route.

  • Aless

    I’d rather give my clothes to the homeless, not burn them….

  • Robbie

    “Hahaha Abercrombie! You want cool and attractive people in your clothes and you claim to be exclusionary, so we’re going to give your clothes to homeless people because you would hate that!”

    The only implication is that A&F doesn’t want homeless people to wear their clothes. While I see your point, I don’t think this is the intention of the person starting this movement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.severns.3 Daniel Severns

    Honestly
    I can understand and appreciate this article, but I strongly disagree.
    Arguments based on, and by, implications are fallacies by nature.

    The kindhearted journalist thinks it’s just snotty to acknowledge the
    homeless as an excluded group, and thinks it’s wrong to donate under a
    sentiment she personally deems as incorrect.

    I don’t think this guy is telling those people anything new, or making
    any harsh, nasty implication to any of them. (Unless he’s gleefully laughing
    insults and pelting them with rotten cheeseburgers loaded with
    old batteries when nobody is looking.)

    To me, the negative insulting implication looks like its focused ONLY at
    the ivory tower. The CEO can do what he wants with his merchandise. But
    he sure sounds like a separatist A-hole.

    Frankly I don’t think most homeless people would give a crap if this
    guy is making a statement by handing them an expensive piece of
    clothing. It’s clean, comfortable and stylish; and I’m sure it smells a
    whole lot better than what they’re wearing now.. Frankly, I don’t think they’re thin-skinned enough to care what implication somebody has when they receive something that retails for more than what they live off of in a week, or have much time to stretch their toes in a warm home typing away as they think of how they’re supposed to feel about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.severns.3 Daniel Severns

    Honestly
    I can understand and appreciate this article, but I strongly disagree.
    Arguments based on, and by, implications are fallacies by nature.

    The kindhearted journalist thinks it’s just snotty to acknowledge the
    homeless as an excluded group, and thinks it’s wrong to donate under a
    sentiment she personally deems as incorrect.

    I don’t think this guy is telling those people anything new, or making
    any harsh, nasty implication to any of them. (Unless he’s gleefully laughing
    insults and pelting them with rotten cheeseburgers loaded with
    old batteries when nobody is looking.)

    To me, the negative insulting implication looks like its focused ONLY at
    the ivory tower. The CEO can do what he wants with his merchandise. But
    he sure sounds like a separatist A-hole.

    Frankly I don’t think most homeless people would give a crap if this
    guy is making a statement by handing them an expensive piece of
    clothing. It’s clean, comfortable and stylish; and I’m sure it smells a
    whole
    lot better than what they’re wearing now.. Frankly, I don’t think
    they’re thin-skinned enough to care what implication somebody has when
    they receive something that retails for more than what they live off of
    in a week, or have much time to stretch their toes in a warm home typing
    away as they think of how they’re supposed to feel about it.

  • Mayim

    THANK YOU. I took issue with this the second I heard about it. You were spot on in your assessment.

  • Wyman

    I am a former homeless man I was homeless for about 5 years recently and I still have friends out there .. and I know that the people who are getting these clothes don’t give a small rats ass where they came from hell I personally would have LOVED it if some one would have given me some clothes while I was living out there. there were many times I would go a month or more with out changing so much as my sox.
    So give the people who are handing out clothes some props even if you don’t agree with their reasoning.

  • Jsmqu2

    The homeless are still getting new clothes.. Even if the Point of #fitchthehomeless was not noble.

  • bob

    Whaou, you are a real homeless defender, bravo… Your article is lame.

  • Sophie

    Look however ridiculous his reasoning is at least he is doing something to try and help out the homeless community, which is more than most people have done. If an online campaign can help give the homeless a better standard of living even if it is only a small difference surely we should all be in favor of it and help out ?

  • Hex

    uhh why am I even here? AF can make clothing in any damn size they want. There are other brands who only make XL clothing. So what? Them burning clothes if they can’t be sold though is a terrible waste of material, if nothing else. Though I suspect it was more PR than an actual fact.

    I got curious and checked AF’s website for a size chart. It goes up to UK size 14, EU size 40. Umm.. you guys… this is NOT “model skinny” territory. It just isn’t. Also, skinny people are people too- they want clothing suited to their body shape. You can’t just make clothing bigger to suit all sizes- the pattern/cut has to be adapted because bigger people aren’t just scaled up versions of skinny people- they need different shapes, and different types of clothing are flattering on them. I actually think that the sizes AF makes are pretty logical.

    HOWEVER, implying that people who aren’t skinny are somehow “not cool” or not as worthy as human beings is a PR eff-up. Because even as a “skinny” person myself, I don’t want to associate myself with a brand that would insult people like that. There is a world of difference between “We happen to cater to this body type as that’s where our expertise is” and “if you’re not this body type, you’re uncool, and THAT’S why we don’t wanna make clothes for you”

    This whole campaign (giving AF clothing to the homeless) seems to be based on one sound bite from from the CEO? Strange. I suspect the homeless don’t want those clothes anyway. I have the PERFECT solution: they can burn it to keep warm on cold nights. That way, everyone is happy.

  • humanhighway

    You’ve got the point all wrong: It is not about making the company looking bad, but far more about torpedoing A&F’s advertisement strategy of only adressing physically attractive men and women. By giving the clothes to the homeless, the exclusive approach of the brand is subverted and so is the delusion of peole wearing A&F just because they fell victim to this association of being on the bright side of life, looking good and showing off their well-being.

  • Carl

    Get off your soap box

  • Anonymoo

    In a similar vein, I’ve seen those videos called “make a homeless person smile” or something? It’s this new fad of going around and handing a banana, bottle of water and brand new shirt or pair of trainers (sneakers) to someone living on the streets.

    What do you guys think of this?
    The videos actually make me uneasy and reading this article has perhaps helped me identify my issues with it. Perhaps I’m cynical but it seems like they’re making the viral video to look generous rather than to genuinely help vulnerable people. Of course I would never tear someone down for giving water and fruit to a homeless person but there’s something so off about it. Fake smiles from the charitable kids doing it, you know? I feel like they’ll do what they do then go home to their comfortable, lavish houses and reap the rewards of parents who are well off, and forget all about the people sleeping on doorsteps. Are they actually doing anything long term?

    And then I worry that there people will be living on the streets in brand new kicks. How will that affect them? Will they lose out on spare change to buy a sandwich because someone saw the trainers and though “well, clearly he’s not that much in need” and just walk on by?
    Will the homeless guy in new kicks be mugged for them? And find himself with no shoes instead of the crappy pair he had before the new ones?

    I have very mixed feelings about it and I think it’s very much related to this fad of giving A&F clothes to unwitting people.

    Opinions?

  • Rudeboy47590

    How much did Jeffries pay you to write this neanderthal drivel?!? #allrespectlost

  • Laurin

    I’m not entirely sure you understand his point. He is giving A&F clothing to the homeless because he thinks they deserve it. The man behind this #fitchthehomeless thing isn’t the one who views homeless people as dirty slobs, Mike Jeffries is. Which is exactly why he’s giving homeless people his clothes. He is giving away A&F clothing because he thinks that everybody is worthy of wearing it, not just the “beautiful, cool” people Mr. Jeffries wants. That is the point of giving out Abercrombie and Fitch clothing. It’s not to exploit the homeless, but to help them and make Mike look like a d-bag when he inevitably makes a statement with his opinion of homeless people.

  • Nina

    I don’t think they are trying to make A&F look gross by giving their clothes to supposedly gross people. In that case, it would be a campaign aimed towards the public, because the public would shy away from bying a gross brand. But I don’t think at all that that’s where this is coming from. I think this is aimed solely at the heads of the company. The goal is to do the exact opposite of A&F’s inhumane, degrading policy to set an example. The public shall not be motioned to boycott A&F by being suggested the brand is gross, but by being made aware what a giant bag of shit this company is. (Cue “bag of shit”- ever heard of the true Hollister? ;) http://www.hollister.com/) I think the only thing they could have done differently is telling the people they’re giving the clothes to what initiative they’re part of should they accept the clothes. Don’t make the mistake to think homeless people are some kind of sheep-like quantity you can shamelessly exploit for your goals. They will object if they feel offended, just as anyone else would.
    So, I can’t donate any A&F clothes myself since I never owned any, but at the moment I am actually considering bying some from other people just to participate.
    (And last but not least, I think the slogan is chosen rather ineptly, so I kind of see where you’re coming from… I just don’t think it’s that complicated.)

  • SofaKingYourMomTonight

    The Girl that wrote this article is a idiot.
    Lets be honest here, most homeless people are homeless not because we made them
    homeless, and alot of them are ok with being homeless because they couldn’t see
    themselves sustaining a normal life.. i see homeless people everyday where i
    live and 80% of them have some sort of drug addiction (Meth,Heroin,Alcohol).
    most of these people would rather spend all day asking people for money,
    collecting cans, and picking up half smoked cigarettes out of ash treys than
    doing something that could actually benefit them and give them a chance at
    getting ahead. You think someone that lies to people giving them some sort of
    sad story to make someone give them a few dollars and then goes and buys a 6
    pack with it cares about being exploited? come on lady, open ur eyes. this is a
    win win situation and your looking at it from the perspective of a naive little
    girl that daydreams about unicorns. This isnt the case for all homeless people,
    especially ones who are mentally ill, or people who just got evicted because
    they got laid off. im talkin about that homeless dude that you pass every
    single day on the way to work, the one who would rather take 5 dimes than a
    nice bologna sandwich. Even with that being said Im sure the dude that got laid
    off from his company because the CEO outsourced his position to india would
    jump at the chance to help make another selfiash asshole CEO look like a
    fool..By the way do you know who the guy in my avitar is? its just the richest
    guy in the world, i think i might just buy the Whole Abercrombie Brand and give
    it to the homeless. -Carlos Slim Helu

  • Phil

    If they were trying to slander the name of A&F using homeless people then sure, I would agree with you. They’re including the very people that A&F are trying to cut out. You could make the same point by asking larger ladies to model their clothes – if they made them. That’s kind of the point. These people need clothes, and this company needs a makeover. It’s logical.

    Not trying to provoke an argument, as ever! It’s a fair point you’ve made :)

  • Samantha Groenke

    I think that this article brings up a really good point. #FitchtheHomeless isn’t intentionally exposing the homeless as gross, disgusting people but that is how some people are looking at it. I personally love the idea of #FitchtheHomeless because it IS making a difference but at the same time I don’t like that homeless people are being offended. And you’re right, they really have no way of expressing their frustration. Why not instead of aiming this movement at homeless we broaden the range to people with less money. We can do this by simply donating old A&F clothing to Goodwills or Red Racks or Salvation Army etc. That way we really aren’t stepping on any ones toes. A&F target upper class people who have more money because they believe they have more ‘class’ or are better ‘suited’ to buy and wear their clothes. That is why A&F is expensive in the first place. But in doing so you have to be careful to not buy any A&F clothing from stores that give part of the proceeds to A&F. That would only fuel them. Please reply with any concerns!

  • MollyP

    I think you’re missing the point. They burn the clothes instead of donating them. I think the campaign is focusing less on how awful it would be for “dirty, disgusting” homeless people to wear the clothes and more about how its ridiculous that they burn rather than donate them to these people who need them.

  • Colin Reilly

    You think homeless people really care? They live on the streets! Give them some clothes. Dumb article about a funny idea.

  • Danielle

    They are only doing to show the CEO that he’s a jerk. He is the only one who actually cares who wears his clothes. No one is saying that homeless people are bad. Quite the opposite in fact. He is saying that anyone should be able to wear any type of clothing, not just “elite” people who are skinny, popular, and have lots of money.

  • Dana

    I have to disagree. You are, in my opinion, looking at this the wrong way. Its not to exploit the homeless, but rather to knock the CEO off his high “exclusionary” horse. He would rather destroy than be cheritable. Its not because the homeless are “gross,” as you so eloquently stated. It has more to do with the fact that this wretched looking man has made MILLIONS on a brand and is too much of a miser (that’s “greedy” for those wondering) to give back. Cherity is a BIG part of owning a business. I, personally, refuse yo shop in a store or give business to a company that doesn’t partake in community improvemt in some form.
    This is the ultimate back hand to this hoity-toity piece of excrement. His precious fabric, paint, and thread being worn by those he despises. You and I are one pay check away from joining the “gross” homeless people as they forage for what they can find and survive on the kindness of others. They weren’t always homeless. Once you hit bottom, its hard to stand up again. Don’t take advantage of your circumstances, use them to help the “gross and disgusting” who once had it and now don’t. Amirite?

  • ihatey0u

    I’m homeless (and before someone asks the obvious; public library) and I don’t particularly agree that #FitchTheHomeless is politically incorrect. I took it as more of an act of disobediance towards Michael Jeffries, but, I understand, too, that there are people who think this will work because we are so lowly. Either way, good article.

  • Jessie

    I don’t think he is saying that homeless people are gross, he’s just trying to spite the company by giving it to the kind of people the company doesn’t want to wear them. He can’t do anything about the whole XL or XXL thing, so he is giving the clothes away to the homeless people, because they are people two, they deserve to wear the same clothing as anyone else.

  • amee

    Do you honestly believe thats what this guy had in mind when he pitched this? First of all any support that encourages people to give away these ridiculously priced clothes to those less fortunate is a good cause. It was never once mentioned that these homeless people were dirty or the description you personally tore from that. Dont deviate like that. Its aimed at this shitty, discrimintory company. That makes a statement AND helps others at the same time. I see no harm in that

  • nlpnt

    You know who wears A&F? Older guys whose now-grown sons were teens when the brand was cool. It’s what they wear to walk the dog and get coffee from the quickie mart.

  • lin

    everything in life can be criticized but i dont think is wrong, come on, they are getting decent clothes A and F are getting a different demografics, come one, complainers will be complainers no matter how good an action, and it looks like an artistic performance to me, so shut up and buy some shirts for the homelss

  • Meep

    i think “feminists” are always reading WAY too deep into things.