In Dwight McBride’s article titled Why I hate Abercrombie & Fitch he discusses how Abercrombie advertises and targets only upper and middle class white people. He talks about the ads for the clothing company and how its not only promotes a clothing industry but it also promotes a lifestyle. McBride finds it very wrong and discriminating in the way that the brand Abercrombie promotes whiteness.
Although Abercrombie definitely does promote a certain idea of whiteness by using almost strictly white models for their advertisements and magazines, it is not the only retailer that targets a specific race or ethnic group.
I chose to look at a clothing line called FUBU. On their online website www.fubu.com, the majority of their models are African Americans. The site shows many well dressed African Americans, however it is not specifically targeted to a certain age group like Abercrombie is. Also, in their advertisements that are available to view on the website, it shows many African American models and has rap music being played. Also, there is an advertisement for FUBU children’s clothing in which there are numerous children pictured in it, there is one white child but only about a third of his face is in the picture. So by looking at FUBU’s website and advertisements it is very obvious what group of people they are targeting. However, I do believe that FUBU is not discriminating quite the way that Abercrombie did.
I chose this clothing line because although I do believe that McBride does have a relevant point that Abercrombie was discriminating, I do believe that most retailers have a target market. A target market can be determined by age, gender, style, and income and I believe that Abercrombie was just positioning their clothing line into the marketing mix. However, I do not agree with the hiring practices and the discrimination that took place in that process.
I have found that McBride’s article goes along with this website in that McBride states that “Abercrombie & Fitch has devised a very clear marketing and advertising strategy that celebrates whiteness” (66). As stated above I believe that all clothing stores have a target marketing strategy that they aim at certain demographics and that is what Abercrombie is doing as well as FUBU. They are just targeting different groups of consumers.
Another statement from McBride’s article that goes along with the connection between these two companies is that McBride states, “Of the group shots, two include the one African American model (or even visible person of color) in these pages, white all of the rest of the photos are of male and female models who appear to be white” (66). Just as the whites are the target market and the main people featured in their advertisements, FUBU targets the African American market and the main people featured in their advertisements are African Americans. As stated before, there is an advertisement on the FUBU website that features many children and only one of those children is white and he is only partially visible in the advertisement. There is only one other picture on the website that features a white person. So just as though Abercrombie does not feature many pictures of African Americans, FUBU does not feature many pictures of white people.
I think that it is fine for a company to have a target market that they are trying to sell their clothing too as long as they are not discriminating in the process. I feel that what Abercrombie did in the way of hiring practices was very wrong, not only were they discriminating against race, but they were also telling people that they were not pretty. I think that is very wrong. I think that people should be able to shop wherever they want and buy whatever style of clothing that they prefer.