Fitch the Homeless
May 14, 2013 7:11 PM   Subscribe

One man's attempt to rebrand Abercrombie & Fitch as "The World's Number One Brand of Homeless Apparel". SLYT
posted by dobbs (49 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
yea that's ok.
posted by sweetkid at 7:16 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


way to do a solid!
posted by michellenoel at 7:20 PM on May 14, 2013


He had me up until he hopped in his mom's Volvo, left Silver Lake and referred to all of East LA as skid row.
posted by phaedon at 7:20 PM on May 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


referred to all of East LA as skid row.
yea noticed that.
posted by sweetkid at 7:25 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those of you outside LA,

the name is official enough that fire engines and ambulances serving the neighborhood have historically had "Skid Row" emblazoned on their sides.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:29 PM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm so revolted by this stunt that, I hope the author of this video is eaten slowly by fire ants, starting with his eyes and inner ear. I've never met him and I don't care about AmberwhatevertheFuck does to appeal to the Heathers and their Boyfriends; but seriously don't patronize the homeless so you can show is how fucking awesome you are in your wannabe viral video.
posted by humanfont at 7:30 PM on May 14, 2013 [50 favorites]


Something about this makes me very uncomfortable. I think it's the part where homeless people are a Hilarious Punchline rather than... people.

I'm in support of continuing to de-coolify A&F by discussing what an asshat the CEO is and how desperately the brand wants to be cool. De-coolifying it by buying into their whole perspective on life ("LOL ugly/uncool/homeless people R wearing it!!!1!") just misses the point.
posted by aintthattheway at 7:35 PM on May 14, 2013 [30 favorites]


fun fact: dude wasn't in east LA at all! if you're calling downtown LA "East LA" you're well... you're wrong.

fun fact #2: the entirety of this video was shot on one city block (6th st. between los angeles and maple)... nowhere near the entire breadth of "skid row".

i invite this dude to have a beer with me at the king eddy saloon one of these nights and to not casually throw thrift store clothing on homeless people.

they're people too. some are really picky (the guy who asked me for my uneaten ice cream and then refused because he "didn't like nuts"), some aren't, some are nice, some are (fittingly) total douchebags and some are very stylish!

the area is home to the best barbacoa tacos, an art store owned by one of metafilter's own and an incense store owned by yours truly. i'm sure a few of us have our stories about dealing with the homeless multiple times on a daily basis in contexts both banal and extraordinary.

good on this dude, but he can do better. i hope he does.
posted by raihan_ at 7:40 PM on May 14, 2013 [26 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out what possible objective he could realistically be aiming for. It's not going to change AF, it's not going to change the people who buy AF, which leaves only two possibilities:

1) It's a stealth way to get people to buy clothes for the homeless.

2) It's an attention-seeking attempt to go viral with his own stickin' it to the man culture-jamming awesomeness.

I'm afraid only #2 really seems plausible.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:42 PM on May 14, 2013


I'm a big fan of providing help that people actually want. From my extremely limited experience with "the homeless*" and people who work in a bunch of capacities with homeless people the most helpful thing is actually....

Housing.

Also, this idea that giving the clothes away to homeless people somehow rights the wrong of body shaming. Which. I just cannot even address the weirdness of that.

(Though I'm really interested that it's a dude making the video. I know that if it was a woman the YouTube comments would be super absurd. But it feels white knighty to the nth degree because he's like, avenging the ladies and helping the poor!)

*This hits a lot closer to home than I'm comfortable being public about, actually.
posted by bilabial at 7:42 PM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Something about this makes me very uncomfortable. I think it's the part where homeless people are a Hilarious Punchline rather than... people.

I didn't really parse it as mocking homeless people, but I think it would have been far better if he focused more on the arument that this would help homeless people as well as be a big 'fuck you' to A&F.

As it stands, the video comes off as if homeless people are simply a means to an end; like he wouldn't be helping (or 'helping') them if not for his distain for A&F.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:42 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I get what he's trying to do, but it's obnoxious that he's using homeless people basically as a prop.

If you really wanted to stick it to the asshole ceo, you could start a movement to get those so-called uncool kids in high schools to start donning A&F in ironic protest. (of course it would be doubly ironic if that somehow made the brand cool again. Maybe Mike Jeffries, the ceo, is playing the long con here...)
posted by seymourScagnetti at 7:43 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it would be better if he specifically focused on the "Abercrombie doesn't want their cast-off clothes donated to the poor, but screw them, we're buying up all the used Abercrombie stuff we can find and donating it to the poor" angle.

But I can't get too upset at someone trying to get people excited about buying clothes and donating them to people in need, no matter how obnoxious he is.
posted by straight at 7:47 PM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been seeing this linked around all day and it bugs the shit out of me. Is "homeless" the opposite of cool? Are the homeless people aware they're being used in what could be the least important protest of the day, that doesn't affect or improve their lives?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:53 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to admit, this made me giggle maniacally.
posted by orange swan at 7:55 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, he's saying that the homeless are the cool kids.
posted by telstar at 7:55 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those of you outside LA, the name is official enough that fire engines and ambulances serving the neighborhood have historically had "Skid Row" emblazoned on their sides.

It's not even a question of official-ness, East LA is a term used to describe a large number of primarily Hispanic working-class neighborhoods east of Los Angeles. Skid Row, while an unmitigated disaster, is not synonymous with "East LA" and is at best 7 square blocks big.
posted by phaedon at 7:57 PM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


You can dere-lick my balls, Capitan..
posted by jmccw at 7:58 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, he's not really helping the homeless, yes it's only really focused on a mean spirited attempt at making the CEO of Aberfitchie & Crom look even more like an ass, yes he's young and not as smart as he thinks, but...

If for no other reason than when he asks "Where's the Douchebag section?" at the Goodwill.
(that's at 1:07 btw)
posted by evilDoug at 8:20 PM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Agreed with all the above re: homeless people as props / missing his own point.

The Abercrombie & Fitch CEO does look a lot like Old Biff, though. Maybe a better way to stick it to A&F would somehow involve manure?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:37 PM on May 14, 2013


It was said better by another Thrift Store aficionado:

That's $50 for a t-shirt limited edition. Let's do some simple addition. $50 for a t-shirt that's just some ignorant bitch shit.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:56 PM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Abercrombie & Fitch CEO does look a lot like Old Biff, though.

I don't think this douche should be associated with the awesome Tom Wilson, though, who is not only a great comic actor (Back to the Future, Freaks & Geeks), but a fine stand-up comic, as well. Be sure not to miss "The Question Song".
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:04 PM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


$50 for a t-shirt that's just some ignorant bitch shit.

Seriously I'm not sure there's a problem that needs solving here. Does paying more than 2x even inflated mall retail for a shitty piece of shapeless of clothing with advertising on it really need to be more inclusive?

Mike Jeffries' business plan is apparently "suck hilarious amounts of money out of douchebags". Maybe the only way to look at it is that he got rich by performing a goddamn social service.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:37 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Isn't it enough of a stigma that this guy: the owner of A&F wears the clothes?
posted by mulligan at 9:42 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because having no place to live is funny! And feeding the A&F marketing trolls is going to accomplish SO much!
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:48 PM on May 14, 2013


Helping the homeless is really... hard. There are people out there who are actually down on their luck and can be helped easily. Much more often you have to deal with the addicted and insane. Why shouldn't they be insane or addicted? Life sucks at that level. It is nearly impossible to help in a meaningful way without so much hopelessness and existential dread that you find yourself less of a person.

Basically I'm saying that you should take one tenth the time you spend aggravated about some viral video on the internet and spend it serving soup. That should work out to about one day a year, unless you have a serious problem with folks who are wrong on the internet. Try it. These problems are legitimately difficult and this video is harmless in every sense of the word.
posted by poe at 9:48 PM on May 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


Atom Eyes: "Be sure not to miss "The Question Song" ."

You know what's really funny, he says Gary Busey's a jerk in that song, and I kinda think the A&F CEO looks a scarily lot like Busey. And so the circle comes back around.
posted by symbioid at 9:50 PM on May 14, 2013


Heh. While I recognize the problems with this, it reminds me of when my boss at the computer store in SOMA (SF) fired me for taking scheduled time off. I distributed my work shirts with the name of the store on them to neighborhood panhandlers.
posted by smartyboots at 11:09 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


It'd be funnier and less offensive if he'd just used Republicans.
posted by gurple at 11:12 PM on May 14, 2013


This dude is just as big a shithead as the dude that started A&F in the first place.

I wish A&F jeans weren't the only jeans in the world that fit me and don't make me break out in hives like other jean brands do, because I'd like to be able to fully divest myself of all A&F clothing in protest of the aforementioned shithead's shittyness. Guess I'll have to settle on farting in the general direction of the local A&F store for now.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:23 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Skid Row, while an unmitigated disaster, is not synonymous with "East LA" and is at best 7 square blocks big.

7 is prime, so no integral height and width of blocks can yield 7 square blocks as the area. Do you mean 7 blocks by 7 blocks, which would be 49 square blocks?
posted by w0mbat at 11:24 PM on May 14, 2013


It's not called Skid Rows, so it must be a single row of blocks. So, 1x7, obviously. Sheesh, do the meth.

...

...

Shit. Math!
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:49 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I get what he's trying to do, but it's obnoxious that he's using homeless people basically as a prop.

It's worse than that--by encouraging the world to laugh with him at the idea of homeless people wearing A&F, he's getting the world to laugh at homeless people (get it? they're wearing COOL KIDS' CLOTHES! HOW RIDICULOUS!), which is arguably worse than anything A&F has said or done about "cool kids" and "not so cool kids." What a piece of shit.

"Cool brands" will always be around, and sometimes run by assholes. Accept that, ignore them, move on.
posted by duffell at 4:24 AM on May 15, 2013


Most of the people I see wearing A&F logos ain't rich.
posted by spitbull at 4:28 AM on May 15, 2013


The furor itself, over the statements of A&F CEO, is so hypocritical. The absurdity of the situation is that the mistake of CEO is not that he wants to protect his brands image but that he reminds us that the only reason we want to wear A&F ourselves is because we don't want the homeless wearing it. That we are brand conscious.

We hate him because he reminded us just how shallow we are and how much we suffer from status anxiety.

Its no different to the way Nike / Reebok give away sneakers to cool youths or Haute Couture dress makers give free dresses to Oscar Nominees for the awards ceremony.
posted by mary8nne at 6:44 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't it enough that we associate A & F with douchebaggery now?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:19 AM on May 15, 2013


Isn't it enough of a stigma that this guy: the owner of A&F wears the clothes?

Seriously, Mike Jefferies has so clearly made his home in the uncanny valley, I don't know how he's not the number one reason not to wear that brand.
posted by gladly at 7:32 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This dude is just as big a shithead as the dude that started A&F in the first place.

I think what this kid is doing is problematic, but this is kind of over the top.

Also, I'm sure other jeans out there will fit you if you really want to protest the brand.
posted by sweetkid at 7:35 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for your input, sweet kid. I'd never thought about that.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:49 AM on May 15, 2013


It doesn't sit well with me to use disadvantaged people without their express consent and willing participation to further an agenda, no matter how odious the company being protested is.

I wish my kindhearted FB friends didn't appear to be having such knee-jerk "liking" reactions to it. Every time I see someone post it, and some collecting clothing, I get a weird feeling in my stomach. In working with shelter students at our school, I understand that it's a matter of pride for many not to wear used clothing, and they will often save carefully to make a few much-desired purchases rather than accept just anything - even the extra snow pants I keep on hand at school so they can play in the snow in the winter. They would be horrified at someone walking around and handing them clothing in this manner on the playground - but also too polite to do anything other than accept it and deal with it later.

I'm not sure I'm okay with helping the homeless in this way as part of a stunt. Being impoverished shouldn't mean being subject to this action by more privileged people. Helping them have dignity by supporting charities that let them choose what they would of their own accord is what we ask when the more privileged parents want to help the shelter - it should not be done by handing them a big "Fuck you A + F."

Those filmed maybe don't want to support the company either if time were taken to explain the action. Would anyone's consent have been obtained for this video? Would it have been needed?

I've poked around a bit and can't find anything from a recipient's point of view. I'd like to see a few more perspectives on this.
posted by peagood at 8:16 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Finally! a fashion statement I can get on board with.

In a country that struggles so hard to ignore the homeless out of existence, and which lets the police push them out of town ... and even out of the woods ... to where??? ... this hits at both ends of the problem.

Seldom mentioned is that, among the homeless WE try so hard to ignore in the US, are hundreds of thousands of US Veterans. And that, my friends, is beyond sad.
posted by Twang at 9:36 AM on May 15, 2013


Maybe this is as good a place as any to post The Homeless Guy's blog. Kevin Barbieux has been posting a blog about being homeless and/or living in subsidized housing in Nashville, TN, for over ten years. He recently chose to leave subsidized housing and go back on the streets. He has written several entries dealing with what homeless people need, which mostly begins with someone really taking a personal interest in their success, or getting in the boat with them, so they don't fall through the cracks of the system, but does include things like normal, clean clothes that allow them to present as regular-not-homeless folk. His blog also has movie reviews of Lincoln and Wreck-It-Ralph, with the latter being an allegory for homelessness. (The Homeless Guy blog was previously posted on the front page of MetaFilter in 2002 and briefly enjoyed a traffic wave as a result, though comments have since dropped off.)
posted by onlyconnect at 9:43 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This dude is just as big a shithead as the dude that started A&F in the first place.

Whoa! Hang on. A&F has a history that stretches back to 1892, when they used to outfit safaris. (Here's a catalog from 1940.) The shithead wasn't in charge until the mid-1990s.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:44 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also a good point roger ackroyd. I vaguely remember when the store used to be safari clothes. I think it had a big leather hippo in one that I liked when I was a little kid.
posted by sweetkid at 9:49 AM on May 15, 2013


Isn't it enough of a stigma that this guy: the owner of A&F wears the clothes?

That voice telling you to strike down the elitism of A&F by making fun of the owner's looks? That's the Emperor whispering to Luke Skywalker.
posted by straight at 10:03 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


updates:

here's an interview with the "prankster" on kcrw (i haven't listened to it yet; can someone summarize?)

and A&F has become the first MNC to sign on to a legally binding factory safety accord in bangladesh.

a very slight juxtaposition of ideals, if you will.
posted by raihan_ at 8:25 AM on May 16, 2013


Why #FitchtheHomeless Backfires, from a social worker who works with the homeless population on Skid Row.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:05 PM on May 20, 2013


jocelmeow, that was really interesting and helpful:

And acknowledging how emotionally invested I am in this situation, I thought it might be best for me and for us all to hear and learn from the people whose opinion on this really matters. I decided to show some of the people I work with the video and write down—unfiltered—what was said. Here’s what I heard:

“Wow, that CEO guy is a bad dude.”

“Why the h*** would he pass out clothes to us that he said date rapists wear?”

“I’ve seen my nephew wear that brand of clothing and he’s not a date rapist.”

“It doesn’t look like he is explaining what he is doing to anyone he is giving clothes to. That’s not right.”

“Why isn’t he talking to people when he gives them the clothes? I hate it when people who think they are do-gooders act like that.”

“Why did he just give that large man those tiny pants? I thought he just said they don’t make those sizes? That doesn’t seem very helpful at all.”

“He’s not even asking if he can film them, does he think this is a zoo?”

“Why would we want our ‘own brand of clothing?’ Especially clothing he said 'douche bags' wear.”

“I’m not interested in being this guys billboard or social cause, unless it’s to get people homes.”

“We may be homeless, but that doesn’t mean we want to wear 'douchey' clothes to prove a point—what purpose would that serve, to dehumanize us even more than we already have been?”

“If someone walked up to me to take a picture of me to put on the Internet, I would be really pissed off.”

But the comment that I think sums up everything that needs to be said, was made by a woman who sat quietly through the whole video, before simply stating, “Well, that sort of hurt my feelings.”

I don’t believe that Greg Karber began this project in malice toward the residents of Skid Row. But that does not change the reality that this project is attempting to protect one people group while hurting another. That's not charity. And I have to believe that there must be a better way—the way of true charity, which is simply the way that respects and upholds the human dignity of all people, to the exclusion of none.

posted by onlyconnect at 6:02 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that says it all, onlyconnect.
posted by sweetkid at 6:37 PM on May 20, 2013


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