Icky Abercrombie

November 26, 2004

No, I'm not over the t-shirt thing. I'm most definitely not over the discriminatory hiring and promotion practices which they recently settled a federal class-action lawsuit on, to the tune of $40 million. What really bugs me, though, is their image. Abercrombie is an "aspirational" brand in retail lingo. Do that many people want to be lily white?

For the longest time, they had this giant, I mean giant, poster at the entrance of the store. A blonde-haired white guy with a chiseled jaw lying half naked in the sand. And he had this smirk on this face, like he knew he was such a great looking guy or something. Ugh. How full of himself, I thought. The size of the poster, the look on his face -- it was all so obnoxious. Even without knowing about the lawsuit or the offensive t-shirts, I wouldn't walk into a store like that. But apparently lots of people do. Lots of people of color do.

Now, I bet if you went up to one of them and said, "Would you support a company that repeatedly discriminates against minorities, that purposely assigns minorities to work the back stockroom so the public does not see them, that has a record of promoting whites over blacks, Latinos, and Asians" they would answer "no." But that's what all those people are doing, spending their money there. It irks me to no end. OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. It's just that sometimes I look at people and wonder what in the hell is wrong with everyone? Do they not read the news or something? Or do they read it and just not care?


Melissa Hung

Founding Editor

Melissa Hung is the founding editor of Hyphen. She was the editor in chief for the magazine's first five years and went on to serve in many other leadership roles on the staff and board for more than a decade. She is a writer and freelance journalist. Her essays and reported stories have appeared in NPR, Vogue, Pacific Standard, Longreads, and Catapult, among others. She grew up in Texas, the eldest child of immigrants. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.