The first big corporation that pops into my mind when I hear “lifestyle” is Abercrombie and Fitch, due mostly to the recent controversies surrounding CEO Michael Jefferies.  Back in May, Jefferies stated, “We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong (in our clothes), and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely,” (NY Daily News).  The reason this was so controversial was because Jefferies was being outright discriminatory against overweight teens, as the company refuses to make clothing sizes XL and larger.  But I think the reason this became such big news was that Jefferies, while being discriminatory, was only saying something that everyone else was thinking, but was too afraid to say out loud.  Abercrombie and Fitch, like most brands, portrays a lifestyle that is cool and laidback; although most brands don’t outright state who should be allowed to wear their clothes, lifestyle branding, along with pricing and sizing, pretty much dictates who wears what.  Higher end stores weed out the customers they don’t want by pricing their products higher than is obtainable for most, just as Abercrombie gets rid of the customers they don’t want by only producing a certain selection of sizes.

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A lot of people today buy brands based entirely off of the lifestyle they portray.  Take Nasty Gal for instance – the clothes are of poor quality and it’s an online shop so you can never try anything on, yet its become hugely successful because of the bad ass, girl-power lifestyle it represents.  Nasty Gal has even officially stated that they only use models that encompass the “Nasty Gal way of life”.

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Although Jefferies comments weren’t the most polite, especially coming from the CEO of a major corporation, his ideas about who should wear his clothing really aren’t that far-fetched and are actually pretty similar to the standards of most other brands.  People buy brands based on the lifestyle that is associated with it, and if people wearing clothes from a specific brand are like walking advertisements, it makes sense that certain stores wouldn’t want certain people wearing their clothes.  Whether those people are over-weight, low-income, or from a certain race, each brand has their own way of weeding out the undesirable customers.  Some companies are just more open about these practices than others.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/abercrombie-issues-apology-ceo-comments-article-1.1351578

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