"Diversity is Who We Are" is the theme of the fall recruiting campaign by Abercrombie & Fitch. The Aryan-obsessed retailer has been under considerable fire for its hiring practices, lack of diversity behind the scenes and, most of all, the blond and blue veneer applied across much of its marketing. As part of a wide-reaching settlement, the retailer is required to run these messages on its website and selected print media.
Not to imply that their models were not hot or that anything was wrong with them. On the contrary, Joseph Sayers and Kellan Lutz are quite doable. But the fact remains that the majority of the country does not resemble a Town & Country photo shoot or an episode of Smallvile. But advertising is selling an image, which you're buying into via the product. By purchasing an A&F shirt, jacket or a some overpriced accessory, you're buying into the A&F image of casual fabulosity.
An acquaintance looked at these new ads and scoffed. "The models all have that is-he-or-isn't-he? look." He referred to the bi-racial phenom epitomized by Vin Diesel or Mariah Carey. Certainly some of the models seen here fit that profile: Are they black? Dominican? Cuban? Filipino?
So far, we've only seen one darker skinned A&F male model—approximately my color—which is odd because the ongoing "look" for New York City, agency-based black male models has been dark and readily identifiable. (Yes, we know light skin boyz are coming back. Soon.) Given that a growing a percentage of the country is multi-racial, one could argue that A&F execs are killing two birds with one stone. But the vast majority of the new color is concentrated around the diversity campaign, and fewer models in the catalog and editorial layouts. Moreover, it does seem somewhat odd to insist that "diversity is about who we are:" ... and the "we" is given the paper bag test.Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch by Dwight McBride (amazon.com) Abercrombie: The New Black (Rod2.0) T-Shirts in the Spin Cycle (Rod2.0) Aryan Brand Building (Towleroad)