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Clothing chain markets sex, merchandise

Bodies are packed tightly in and around racks of clothes as teens try to find the perfect outfit. The piped in music blares so loudly it makes conversation difficult. The half-naked models on wall posters send less than innocent messages to all who enter the store.

Since the Abercrombie and Fitch clothing store in Fresno advertises their clothes with revealing images, some people have reacted with disgust while others continue to purchase from the popular clothing line.

In the past, scantily clad models have appeared in Abercrombie and Fitch catalogs promoting the clothing line and causing sales to skyrocket. Yet recently the catalog has stirred up some controversy and raised many unanswered questions among customers.

“I feel that Abercrombie doesn’t need to sell sex because they have a good product and they can sell their clothes without using naked models,” Ashley Davis, ’07, said. “Sometimes I do reconsider shopping there, but I have a lot of clothes from there so I will still wear them so I don’t waste.”

Many students are aware of the catalogs and innuendos on merchandise, but they continue shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch.

“It does not bother me that much because I really like their clothes,” Danae Cook, ’05, said. “Also, since I am a girl, I don’t feel like they are selling sex as much as some people think they do.”

Although some students are apparently unaffected, there are also people who are offended and refuse to shop there.

“I understand that sex sells, but Abercrombie has taken it to extremes and made it very distasteful,” Tara Thompson, ’04, said. “I consider it to be laid-back pornography and I do not want to support that. I used to shop there and wear their clothing, but that was before it was outrageous and now I won’t even walk in there.”

While students have mixed opinions on the topic, one teacher on campus has a strong opinion about Abercrombie and Fitch and the tactics they use to sell clothing.

“I think that A&F is just as bad as Carl’s Jr. and all the cologne commercials,” Tracy Jones, substitute teacher, said. “Actually, I do not think that Abercrombie is as bad as the others because their stuff is in their magazines and in their stores so we can choose where we look at their propaganda. Whereas, Carl’s Jr. sexual ads are everywhere and I am more prone to boycott them than anyone else.”

ABC action news [KAKE 30 of Wichita] aired a special report about parents taking a stand against A&F due to their children being exposed to indirect pornography on Dec. 14.

Anchors Larry Hatteberg and Susan Peters report that nude images are throughout the first 100 pages of their in-store magazine. The clothing line is marketed mostly after those pages.

Visit www.kake.com/home/headlines/430486.html for more information. Upset parents have reportedly boycotted the clothing line.

The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families has promoted a boycott of Abercrombie since the retail store was investigated last year on the contents of its Magalog (magazine). Poised to end their boycott on Dec. 10, they published a written statement on their homepage.

“”Abercrombie & Fitch’s decision to retire their quarterly is an excellent first step in cleaning up their act,” said Rick Schatz, president of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families.

Schatz went on to say that though Abercrombie has a history of pulling controversial items when the public speaks out that The National Coalition would continue to monitor the situation. “”We will not do so [end boycott] until A&F releases a written statement saying they will no longer promote a lifestyle philosophy of sexual promiscuity to teens.””

“I think that what Abercrombie is doing to sell clothes is wrong,” Zohreh Shiraz, campus mother, said. “They are exploiting our children and trying to rob them of their innocence.”

However, despite this parental opinion, some students continue to shop at Abercrombie.

“”Even though Abercrombie promotes values I don’t agree with, it doesn’t change the fact that I like their style of clothing,”” Kristin Dunne, ’04, said. “”I’m not going to stop shopping there because I disagree with their morality–they’re a clothing store, not a cult.””

The Chicago Sun-Times addressed this controversy on Dec. 3. Reporter Lisa Peters interviewed Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who chastised the company for its promotion of promiscuity among teens.

“”Abercrombie & Fitch can’t seem to decide what its ‘party line’ will be with regard to their pornographic catalogs,”” Dobson said in a statement. “”Either way, we urge parents to continue expressing their irritation at Abercrombie & Fitch for its exploitation of children. No company that enhances its profits by marketing sleaze to the young deserves our patronage.””

The Sun-Times report that the catalogue was yanked from store shelves last week in order to “”make room for a new women’s fragrance.””

For more information on Abercrombie and Fitch, their clothing line and further controversy, visit www.AbercrombieandFitch.com. Also visit the Dec. 3, 2003 Sun-Times article “”Marketing sleaze or just a big tease?”” online at www.suntimes.com/output/fashion/cst-ftr-abercrom04.html.” “Madeline Ervin, Photographer” “Originating in San Francisco, Abercrombie & Fitch has opened many clothing chains nation-wide, including one in Fashion Fair mall. Here, Kristen Dunne, ’04, window shops at the popular store after school.” “[Courtesy] www.nyse.com” “Abercrombie & Fitch is a popular clothing brand among today’s teenagers and has recently removed its winter catalog from the shelves due to controversy. ” “Abercrombie homepage

Chicago Sun-Times: “”Marketing sleaze or just a big tease?””

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