#FitchTheHomeless? What The Fitch Does It Solve?

Earnest-Pettie by Earnest-Pettie on May. 16, 2013

I’m sorry, but I'm about to ruin your day. I’m probably the most cynical of your Break editors. When a baby or a cute pet makes the homepage, it is rarely because I was the one who wanted it. I’m also the first one to think some video is a viral ad instead of some amazing feat that just happened to get captured on film. The thing online that I have the least amount of patience for is Internet slacktivism, which brings me to the "Fitch The Homeless" video that is big on Break right now.

This is a great video, huh? USC student Greg Karber, feeling an upwelling of outrage at a seven-year-old statement made by a CEO of a company that has long traded on imagery of ripped, white guys, made a video “rebranding” Abercrombie & Fitch by taking A&F clothes to homeless people. You see the A&F CEO made the mistake of saying what all of the company’s actions had long since made clear: Fat people, ugly people, uncool people are not a part of the Abercrombie & Fitch image. Never mind that almost every clothing store in every mall tacitly endorses this very same message in their everyday practices from not stocking plus-size clothes to sticking twig chicks in every single advertisement for their store.

Karber’s video spread like wildfire. Of course it would. You know why? Because it’s the kind of video that makes you feel like there is good in the world even though those Abercrombie shirts he gave out aren’t going to help any of those homeless people get a job or the meds they probably need since they’re homeless and there is a high correlation between homelessness and mental disease.

It’s the kind of video that makes you feel like you’re making a difference by sharing that video on your Facebook and Twitter account. By “liking” the video, you’re endorsing the message behind the video. That’s called “raising awareness.” You know what you aren’t doing by liking the video? Donating Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to the homeless. The video gives that as its call to action, but really a #fitchthehomeless hashtag is all that’s going to come of it.

We love these kind of campaigns because once we stamp of Likes of approval on them, we’re done. Other people are going to see these videos, these blog posts, and these pictures, and they’re going to do something to rectify whatever is wrong with the world. It’s called slacktivism as a slight to my generation (slackers) and because it requires little effort. I think it’s also useful to think of it as requiring someone else to take up the slack in order to make anything happen. I’m not sure what Greg even wants to happen as a result of all of this.

Let’s take one more look at the Fitch The Homeless video. First off, what is the real problem being addressed in the video? Homelessness or bigotry in retail fashion? The more serious problem is the former, but the issue being addressed is really the latter. The homeless are just props in this campaign. What’s the end game? It doesn’t appear to be to deprive A&F of customers or sales, which would really hurt the company. In fact, the end game appears only to be to make Abercrombie & Fitch more visible by having it on every street corner in America. That’s how the “rebranding” is to occur. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Abercrombie & Fitch got so embarrassed by this campaign that they began hiring plain people and stocking larger sizes, is it ok, then, to stop giving your Abercrombie clothes to the homeless?

Call me a cynic, but this whole campaign seems like a muddled mess, which makes it the perfect slacktivist campaign for Facebook. It raises awareness, accomplishes nothing, and is something to talk about online for the next 24-48 hours. Am I wrong? Convince me in the comments.

- Earnest (Follow me on twitter @earnestp)

59 comments
toucH420
toucH420 User

its pretty sad that these people dont realize theyre supporting A&F by buying clothes and giving them to homeless people lol

toucH420
toucH420

its pretty sad that these people dont realize theyre supporting A&F by buying clothes and giving them to homeless people lol

collinsmichael1981
collinsmichael1981 User

I watched it yesterday, already forgot it. Same crap as always "We need to change ( Topic here ) " You have to make change, not ask for it.

collinsmichael1981
collinsmichael1981

I watched it yesterday, already forgot it. Same crap as always "We need to change ( Topic here ) " You have to make change, not ask for it.

Eric-Sellati-160
Eric-Sellati-160

It's not that every D-Bag wheres A&F, but I can assure the ones who do ARE! D-bags are infact easy to spot w/o A/F they look like, many wish they were on "Jersey Shore". The rest look like (or are) hipsters, MAN UP BITCHES! I feel like "Earnest" probably has a "closet" (double/double) full of A/F... I'm from the mindset that says the brand you wear Identifies you. That said, are you you (?), or the image of what you wish others to view? Pretty shallow. Your thought

Eric-Sellati-160
Eric-Sellati-160

It's not that every D-Bag wheres A&F, but I can assure the ones who do ARE! D-bags are infact easy to spot w/o A/F they look like, many wish they were on "Jersey Shore". The rest look like (or are) hipsters, MAN UP BITCHES! I feel like "Earnest" probably has a "closet" (double/double) full of A/F... I'm from the mindset that says the brand you wear Identifies you. That said, are you you (?), or the image of what you wish others to view? Pretty shallow. Your thought

lillyandra
lillyandra User

Do not worry the government is going to start taxing fat people to make them skinny so the problem will be solved soon. If the author really wanted to solve the problem he would gain 60 lbs and wear the A&F clothes anyway with pizza stains.

lillyandra
lillyandra

Do not worry the government is going to start taxing fat people to make them skinny so the problem will be solved soon. If the author really wanted to solve the problem he would gain 60 lbs and wear the A&F clothes anyway with pizza stains.

Sydine-Reakuhl-74
Sydine-Reakuhl-74 User

HAH We'll show them By rubbing POOP on The brand! we= hipsters , poop = homeless , the brand = AF. It's quite obvious the boy grew up in the AF household, and is trying to absolve himself of the years of guilt he has stored up from his parents love being shoveled in him with a silver spoon. If you want to help the homeless Feed them, or help them purchase medical supplies with all that "douche clothes $" If you want to Hurt AF, tell your siblings to stop buying AF clothing.

Sydine-Reakuhl-74
Sydine-Reakuhl-74

HAH We'll show them By rubbing POOP on The brand! we= hipsters , poop = homeless , the brand = AF. It's quite obvious the boy grew up in the AF household, and is trying to absolve himself of the years of guilt he has stored up from his parents love being shoveled in him with a silver spoon. If you want to help the homeless Feed them, or help them purchase medical supplies with all that "douche clothes $" If you want to Hurt AF, tell your siblings to stop buying AF clothing.

buggingout67
buggingout67 User

what the hell are you talking about . anyway i still think that company is gonna take a hit. in this hippie world we live in im sure . plus im pretty sure 10% of the ppl who buy there products are skinny and good looking the rest aint lol . so thats %90 who aint gonna buy. expect low shares on the market .

buggingout67
buggingout67

what the hell are you talking about . anyway i still think that company is gonna take a hit. in this hippie world we live in im sure . plus im pretty sure 10% of the ppl who buy there products are skinny and good looking the rest aint lol . so thats %90 who aint gonna buy. expect low shares on the market .

CoolDlove
CoolDlove

I think its funny fat girls cant shop there.

CoolDlove
CoolDlove

I think its funny fat girls cant shop there.

joa_nyc
joa_nyc User

thanks Earnest 100% right!!

joa_nyc
joa_nyc

thanks Earnest 100% right!!

Paul-Siggerud-893
Paul-Siggerud-893 User

You say this as an editor of a website that only shows half naked skinny girls In their galleries. Break is just as repulsive as Abercrombie and Fitch in their representation of what beautiful women are. You're just as bad as them. You're angry hypocritical response is disgusting. Quite honestly, I have NEVER seen a plus sized model glorified on your website. Yet you criticize Abercrombie and Fitch for not providing plus sized clothing? You are the same as them. You don't deserve respect for th

Paul-Siggerud-893
Paul-Siggerud-893

You say this as an editor of a website that only shows half naked skinny girls In their galleries. Break is just as repulsive as Abercrombie and Fitch in their representation of what beautiful women are. You're just as bad as them. You're angry hypocritical response is disgusting. Quite honestly, I have NEVER seen a plus sized model glorified on your website. Yet you criticize Abercrombie and Fitch for not providing plus sized clothing? You are the same as them. You don't deserve respect for th

breakidiot
breakidiot User

This campaign is pretty pathetic - I don't agree with the CEO's viewpoint and I think he's a douchebag but he has the right to run his business whatever way he pleases - it's not like he's being racist. Just stop shopping at A&F - simple.

breakidiot
breakidiot

This campaign is pretty pathetic - I don't agree with the CEO's viewpoint and I think he's a douchebag but he has the right to run his business whatever way he pleases - it's not like he's being racist. Just stop shopping at A&F - simple.

The-Langolier
The-Langolier UserTop Commenter

I strongly disagree with you on the point that it makes me feel good. What I see is a guy running a business how he wants to. He has a certain group of people that he markets to, and some asshole is offended by them not marketing to everyone. Now he's trying to take revenge, and doing so poorly. The CEO might be a douché face, but so is the guy that made this video. I hate to take from my other posts on break.com but.. If you think of this store like movie genres. There are so many. Not all are me

The-Langolier
The-Langolier

I strongly disagree with you on the point that it makes me feel good. What I see is a guy running a business how he wants to. He has a certain group of people that he markets to, and some asshole is offended by them not marketing to everyone. Now he's trying to take revenge, and doing so poorly. The CEO might be a douché face, but so is the guy that made this video. I hate to take from my other posts on break.com but.. If you think of this store like movie genres. There are so many. Not all are me

ematland
ematland

i was thinking the same thing sydine... if abercrombie is at fault for being honest about their business model and society is butt hurt over what they said, how come this tool can say in the subtext that the homeless people are an even more disgusting association to pin on A&F then the "uncool kids"

Earnest-Pettie
Earnest-Pettie moderator User

No, I'm saying that EVERYONE does what A&F does, including us.

Earnest-Pettie
Earnest-Pettie

No, I'm saying that EVERYONE does what A&F does, including us.

Eric-Sellati-160
Eric-Sellati-160

By putting homeless in A/F he is essentially bringing the D-Bag level even lower, what d-bag would want to wear what the homeless are (even if it's just a viral vid) wearing, oh but then it might raise the bar to "see they're wearing' my old shi*"

buggingout67
buggingout67 User

im sure hes breaking a anti discrimination law.

Kyle-Ward-736
Kyle-Ward-736

I, too, believe in a free market. If a company offends you on purpose, don't buy from them. If they offended enough people their bottom line will be affected. If not, you're probably a shit in the worlds stew. Quit being a fat fuk or don't wear their shit. If you care enough to be offended maybe you should lose some weight.

Eric-Sellati-160
Eric-Sellati-160

By putting homeless in A/F he is essentially bringing the D-Bag level even lower, what d-bag would want to wear what the homeless are (even if it's just a viral vid) wearing, oh but then it might raise the bar to "see they're wearing' my old shi*"

buggingout67
buggingout67

im sure hes breaking a anti discrimination law.

Kyle-Ward-736
Kyle-Ward-736

I, too, believe in a free market. If a company offends you on purpose, don't buy from them. If they offended enough people their bottom line will be affected. If not, you're probably a shit in the worlds stew. Quit being a fat fuk or don't wear their shit. If you care enough to be offended maybe you should lose some weight.

Paul-Siggerud-893
Paul-Siggerud-893 User

Thank you for recognizing my message, Your response was almost immediate. I do want to say that you have a really good point in the fact that homeless people were used as tools. Honestly that is what bothers me the most.

Paul-Siggerud-893
Paul-Siggerud-893

Thank you for recognizing my message, Your response was almost immediate. I do want to say that you have a really good point in the fact that homeless people were used as tools. Honestly that is what bothers me the most.

The-Langolier
The-Langolier UserTop Commenter

It just seems to me like it would be like going to a butcher and asking o purchase vegetables. Then when you find out the butcher does not sell vegetables, you go and make a video complaining about how the butcher chooses not to sell vegetables to people, even though they are not sold there.

The-Langolier
The-Langolier UserTop Commenter

There will always be companies that have you as their main market, so demanding a product from a company that they do not produce, and then being offended by that fact. It just seems rude.

Earnest-Pettie
Earnest-Pettie moderator User

I think we're actually in agreement! I didn't mean sharing this particular video made you feel good but sharing stuff like this, in general, make *people* feel good.

The-Langolier
The-Langolier

It just seems to me like it would be like going to a butcher and asking o purchase vegetables. Then when you find out the butcher does not sell vegetables, you go and make a video complaining about how the butcher chooses not to sell vegetables to people, even though they are not sold there.

The-Langolier
The-Langolier

There will always be companies that have you as their main market, so demanding a product from a company that they do not produce, and then being offended by that fact. It just seems rude.

Earnest-Pettie
Earnest-Pettie

I think we're actually in agreement! I didn't mean sharing this particular video made you feel good but sharing stuff like this, in general, make *people* feel good.

Valeasaz
Valeasaz User

FYI, Break has posted PLENTY of pics of plus sized models before.

Earnest-Pettie
Earnest-Pettie moderator User

That is also what bothered me the most and made me question the whole thing. I mean, do the clothes he handed out even fit the people he gave them to?

Valeasaz
Valeasaz

FYI, Break has posted PLENTY of pics of plus sized models before.

Earnest-Pettie
Earnest-Pettie

That is also what bothered me the most and made me question the whole thing. I mean, do the clothes he handed out even fit the people he gave them to?

The-Langolier
The-Langolier UserTop Commenter

I hate *people*. It's a little bit like when facebook users were supposed to change their profile pictures to cartoon characters from their childhood to stop violence against children. Yeah, that's going to work.

The-Langolier
The-Langolier

I hate *people*. It's a little bit like when facebook users were supposed to change their profile pictures to cartoon characters from their childhood to stop violence against children. Yeah, that's going to work.