Abercrombie & Fitch: Not Cool

The company is feeding into our skewed emphasis on body image.

Click here if you are unable to view this video.

Comments (29)

(27) Rebekah, May 31, 2013 11:23 PM

For the cool kids

I think what I find most disturbing of the quotes you mention is that a&f say that their clothing is for the "cool kids". The kids who are not considered cool are often just different from the school or local norm and the reason could be anything from body type to interests to refusing to engage in the risky or cruel behaviors of their peers. We say that we value uniqueness in our society but we don't always live up to that. It's bad enough when children make fun of others for being different but for adults to publically support that attitude is terribly wrong and shortsighted.

(26) anonymous, May 30, 2013 6:21 PM

Wow, what an unbelievable statement against poor people...

I totally agree with you, Rabbi Salomon. What a statement to say that they don't even want poor people wearing their clothes. Selfishness and baseness and, like you said, wrong priorities and values.

(25) SusanE, May 30, 2013 5:20 AM

Obesity or Poverty?

A&F is a bit pricey. Poor people can't afford that level of pricing for their clothing. Poor people also can't afford fine dining in expensive restaurants. I don't agree that those restaurants should have low priced menus for the poor folk. They cater to well-dressed well-heeled diners because that is who they want as customers. I am not offended when a place says no shirt no shoes, no service. - - - - - - - I don't know what A & F sells exactly because we don' t have a store in my area. (we're given Peebles and Wal-Mart) If Abercrombie and Fitch offer fashions that only look good in proportion up to a size 10 then that is what they sell. If you can't afford their line of clothing you can't shop there. If you can't wear anything below a size 10 then you can't shop there. A size 10 is not small, it's a reasonable size. Their prices and goods are geared to the affluent. Get over it. Shop elsewhere.

Andy, May 30, 2013 11:23 AM

fair comment but

Susan,well said. It reminds of those who have a problem with yeshivas were seemingly the sole emphasis is on excellence in learning Talmud.In both cases there likely are other options but it may require leaving the culture where one is raised, and that's painful and difficult, particularly for teens. One can't outlaw outsize obsession with physical beauty as defined by whatever culture one resides. It seems to me our job as a society is to offer alternative paths where one can build self esteem.If not it seems to me the kids suffer and we all pay the price.

(24) bruce rubenstein, May 29, 2013 7:25 PM

my wife & I agree with your comments about abercrombie & fitch

could you do something about the old temple in Jerusalem? what were the services like, what prayers were said, & what was the service was like?

(23) Suzin Glickman, May 29, 2013 10:21 AM

You mentioned the guy who started Campaign to give clothes to the homeless But not the Jewish Mother and her Daughters who took a stand. They have received A lot of attention. http://abcnews.go.com/m/blogEntry?id=19183447

(22) Batya, May 29, 2013 6:22 AM

Bravo to those who speak out

I'm not a fan of A&F's policy. I'm less of a fan of society's obsession with skinny women. Bravo for speaking out, Rabbi. As a nation, we need to have a dialogue about healthy body images. As a people, we Jews need to be conscious of the poison that we're being fed by advertisers who do not have Torah to guide them. Why does my body size threaten them? Sign me Fat and Frum

(21) Raphaelle Do Lern Hwei, May 29, 2013 6:10 AM

True About A&F Overemphasis on Body Image

I am a plus size woman. I think that A&F designs very nice and durable unisex T shirts, bermudas and hoodies. About S$60 to S$80 per piece. Will buy some for my 12 year old and myself.
What really puts me off is their publicity campaign line. I went to their Singapore flagship opening sale event. The store was along Somerset Road. In the night, the store was dimly lit and there was this good looking male store assistant pacing aroung in only denim pants. He did not even give directions when I asked him what type of clothing was on offer and where to find them. I left promptly and only visited in daylight as it reminds me disturbingly of a vice den near the place where we lived till I turned 33. (Note: I never worked or obtained services from such a joint but know what it is).
A&F ads on Facebook featuring the said bare male torsos were "honoured" by many report abuse responds 2 years back.

(20) Janice, May 29, 2013 2:03 AM

Abercrombi & Fintch

I agree whole heartedly. We want pure souls, dressed modestly, not drawing attention to body parts. Most US clothing stinks, we need to go back to designing and making our own clothes and teaching our daughters and sons how to make holy garments; that's what HaShem wants. Holy garments.

(19) David, May 29, 2013 12:07 AM

So What?

Abercrombie and Fitch are in business to make money, not to send politically correct messages. If you don't like it, don't patronize them. If their business suffers, they will change their business model.
BTW - I am not cool, and I probably wouldn't fit into their cloths (though I don't know since I have never been in their shops). It doesn't bother me. You should try to get over it, too.

(18) Anonymous, May 28, 2013 11:06 PM

I totally agree!

In my family, it's quite normal to shop for clothing at Goodwill. Personally I know that my clothing are on the same fashion level as my friends. But for a while, I was uncomfortable saying where I got the clothes. This movie is so true, being as I never buy anything from Abercrombie, and understand where everyone is coming from. It's really the time people should speak up about this issue and address it. Thank you!

(17) Pacey, May 28, 2013 10:51 PM

I agree!

(16) Anonymous, May 28, 2013 8:30 PM

Thank you

Thank you Rabbi for challenging the marketing machine, it has and continues to wreak havoc on God's creation and twists the minds of ALL cultures. Even the closely knit, sacred Jewish culture is experiencing casualties. We all should challenge the wrongs within our global community, because eventually it can poison us too.

(15) Richard C Dennis, May 28, 2013 8:02 PM

To each his/her own

While I don't agree with A & F's business sense (I have never bought anything from them in my 81 years), they may do as they choose. Some fail with their business format. Others make millions. To each his/her own.

(14) Nitza Shamosh, May 28, 2013 7:32 PM

Hello Rabbi this is the first time I see a video of you giving a speech and of course I am in favor of what you are saying, before I was into Torah, the only thing I was worried about was my figure, my clothing, fashion, to be thin, eating too little, making lots of exercise, but you know now I try to "exercise" my mind and soul every time I have a chance, i love reading everything that comes to me from aish I tame Torah classes at aish center in Mexico Vity with Rabbi Kanner and also take some more classes with other Rabbies in different communities, and let me tell you I am now the most nappy person in tnhe world, my life changed, Imimclude G-d in every minute of esch day of my life, I am much more spiritual, I judege less, lashon hara less, and I have improved my character traits.
What this "private company" is doing is not fair, they are making our children sick, because of course they have now an image of skinny and skeletical figures, but thank G-d I had the fortune of educating my sons and daufhters threw Torah, and they are healthy in mind body and soul, but I as I said I a, lucky and negative external influences didnt trasspass the doors of my home. Thank you very much

(13) ross, May 28, 2013 6:55 PM

Caring about this stuff is antithetical

It's true...studies have shown that the cool-dressed kids are more popular since many judge by looks, but we Jews are supposed to look beyond that, to the inside of person. If so, then who cares what they say or who they target? Thinking or caring or addressing this issue shows that we are not inward focused people! Really, we're supposed to look straight through this stuff! It's not there! It doesn't make a difference! The true inside-focused person hasn't a clue what you're talking about, and will brush it off a empty chat. You should spend your time addressing other things, like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and, well, keys to life fulfillment (I see that listed below.)

(12) Yossie, May 28, 2013 5:52 PM

Aren't we all doing the wsame thing?

You say that it is "antithetical to what we Jews believe". However, most young men looking for a Shidduch are looking for a size 2. Many shadchanim do not deal with girls who are size 10 or above. I don't agree with these ideas, but it is definitely what we Jews also do. So I would suggest that before we comment on others, we should make sure that we do the right thing. As far as A & F making a bad business decision, who care? They will suffer the consequences, and it really doesn't affect us Jews one way or the other.
As far as Clothes being too important, we also judge people by their clothes. WHat type of suit they wear, what type of Yarmulka they wear, what color shirt they wear, and on and on and on. And we make decisions about how religious they are by the way they look. Do you think that is better than simply targeting a particular segment of the population? I think that preaching one thing, and doing something else is hypocritical. WHile I don;t agree with A&F, I give them creidt for at least being honest.

(11) R David, May 28, 2013 3:15 PM

my business is not your business

Unless a business is illegal, why not butt out?

Agreeing with Anonymous, if you don't like a particular business - for whatever reason - vote with your feet (or wallet).

Where is the toleration that we Jews have historically supported?

Will you (as a ridiculous example) next oppose restaurants because they serve ice in their water and you find such use of energy for ice makers to be wasteful?

Please learn to tolerate even what you don't like if it is not immoral and get rid of what appears to be an overgrown "PC" perspective. Try to focus on the important things of life and ignore the "small stuff." If A&F's policies are immoral, they will go away.

(10) Melissa, May 28, 2013 3:09 PM

Rabbi Thank you for this commentary

Let this be an opportunity for greater discussion on how it is that the physical body is merely/mostly/primarily a vessel for the Divine Flow of energy that connects us to G-d!! Its very difficult for a drugged size 0 woman to emanate anything more than a 'barely over 0 energy level - i'm surprised more don't pass out on the fashion runways ... A bit more than simply fitting his foot securely in his mouth, CEO Fitch is simply verbalizing the untold truth of the entire fashion industry - personally i like the feminine look the plus size stores excel in & would love to buy up their stock and just alter it! The clothes need to fit the woman, not that women need to structure their lives - give up sustenance, for example, to 'fit the clothing'!! You're right, Rabbi ... this attitude is more than rampant materialist schlock -- it's spiritual suicide. Kudos to the young man who has been giving A & F's clothing line to the homeless - a good wool sweater will go along way to keep a homeless person warm and it will not wear out as fast as something cheaper - 'refurbished' establishments are quickly becoming the politically correct choice of many - and so BE it!!

(9) louise, May 28, 2013 2:48 PM


BRAVO..................... thank you for speaking out. I put this on face book and hope to spread the word that way. Thank you... You always have a way of making us listen and smile ;)

(8) Anonymous, May 28, 2013 2:45 PM

Out of size large? Why?

On the heels of the A &F hooplah, I went into Madewell in Georgetown and did not find a size large in any of the clothes displayed. I asked why. I was told they were sold out of larges. I asked if that was because they only carry one large in every item or because larges get bought because that is the only size some people can actually fit into in their clothes?

(7) Anonymous, May 28, 2013 2:40 PM

Write a letter- send your clothes back!

For Rabbi Yaacov Solomon Re: Abercrombie and Fitch- You mentioned the guy who started Campaign to give clothes to the homeless But not the Jewish Mother and her Daughters who took a stand. They have received A lot of attention. The Jewish values she exemplifies is nothing short of an"Eishes Chaiyal" I am proud to know her and her family. http://abcnews.go.com/m/blogEntry?id=19183447

(6) Danny, May 28, 2013 2:19 PM

why do you care

I don't understand this whole post. Why are you criticising A&F, the whole goyisher world is the same. Every designer brand tries to achieve this goal of only being worn by the haves and the ones who look good in their clothes

(5) Anonymous, May 28, 2013 8:01 AM

Because of their mentality there is an obesity problem

The mentality of either I look good or I am worthless is a big cause for obesity and the vicious cycle of eating to escape.

(4) Anonymous, May 27, 2013 12:59 PM

IMO, the best way to deal with A&F is by not giving them your business. If the target population stopped shopping there and the company went bankrupt, maybe the CEO would realize that he has done nothing more than act like a bully. As a larger sized person, I do not fit into A&F's category. However, I would not shop there even if I could fit into their clothing. Bullying in all forms must be stopped.

(3) Rebecca, May 27, 2013 3:18 AM

Great commentary

Even better than buying used A&F clothing and giving it away to poor people (who might actually feel insulted by this company and not want to wear it) those of us who can afford it would do well to stop buying and wearing it, so as to stand in solidarity with those who the company feels are 'beneath' it's image, and to stand in opposition to such blatant "I'm better than you" pride, which is no better than racism.

(2) Anonymous, May 26, 2013 1:31 PM

So they're a bunch of snobs. Who cares?

Anonymous, May 27, 2013 1:00 PM

To commenter #2. It's great that you can ignore their attitude. I wish I could do the same!

(1) Lisa, May 26, 2013 11:58 AM

Thin is in.....

Forget about A&F.... What about our local shatchanim? They are heavily into body image....they may say it using Yiddish phrases so it sounds all nicey-nice.....but they too are guilty of discriminating on the more zaftig population!


Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment

Receive Weekly Current Issues Emails

Sign up to our Current Issues Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy