Abercrombie & Fitch is attempting to become more body positive with a recently launched marketing campaign for their Fierce fragrance. The 2020 Face Your Fierce campaign spotlights a diverse cast of 24 athletes, authors, models, activists and more. Throughout the year, these people will share their stories of body positivity, self-empowerment, and equality. One question remains: will we see this new focus on diversity and inclusion reflected in the brand’s clothing?
[W]ill we see this new focus on diversity and inclusion reflected in the brand’s clothing?
For years, Abercrombie has been known for its thin, shirtless models, and a focus on what they considered “attractive” people. In 2013, exclusionary comments made by then-CEO Mike Jeffries about the brand being only for “cool, good-looking people” resulted in uproar and an amazing photo shoot and open letter response from Jes Baker.
Over the last decade, culture has changed, with body positivity and fat acceptance becoming more common. Consumers are making it known that they want better representation in marketing and popular culture. This has resulted in more extended size clothing lines, products for plus size people, and more inclusivity in film, TV and photography. Companies see that there is money to make with this customer and are updating their strategies to cater to them.
With the Face Your Fierce campaign’s focus on diversity and inclusion, there’s still a lack of it in Abercrombie’s sizing. Men’s tops are available to XXL (a 49 inch chest) and bottoms to a 38 waist. The average American man has a waist of 40. As of this writing, there are no signs that the company plans to increase sizing to be more inclusive of potential extended size customers.
Not everyone sees things as so bleak. Model and actor Mike McCauley, one of the 24 cast members featured in the Abercrombie campaign, sees Face Your Fierce as a step in the right direction. In a recent Instagram post, McCauley says “This partnership represents why I do what I do. Brands are finally waking up to what their customers ACTUALLY want and I’m honored to be at the front of this movement working with Abercrombie as we lead the industry for change.”
McCauley is right. This is a step forward for a company that hasn’t been very inclusive in the past, but is it enough? With competitors like American Eagle putting a focus on inclusivity and a wider size range (XXXL & 48 waist), it makes sense that Abercrombie would consider following suit.
Why base your inclusivity campaign around a fragrance and not your clothing? The Fierce fragrance has consistently been one of the top-selling fragrances in the country and is very much tied to Abercrombie & Fitch as a brand. Where the company marketed Fierce with traditionally thin models, they are now featuring a wider, more diverse cast including Megan Rapinoe, Leyna Bloom, Halle Hathaway, McCauley and more.
Strategically, the fragrance seems like an easier place for the company to dip their toe into body positivity as they consider making bigger changes to their sizing options. That said, customers who would buy Abercrombie big & tall or plus sizes are tired of waiting for companies to come around.
What do you think about the 2020 #FaceYourFierce campaign? Tell us in the comments below or on social media – we’re @chubstr everywhere.