Poseurs Paradise

Looks like Abercrombie & Fitch has invaded London.  Strange, I thought they had already spread their wares around the U.K.  Anyway, a writer for the Daily Mail decided to apply for a job there to see what all the fuss is about.  Luckily he has male-model looks, which is apparently all they require of their staff.  He published a great article about his mindless, soulless job selling overpriced, mediocre clothing to the buy-anything masses, and it’s an interesting read.  Some of the highlights:

One model told me he’d been instructed to smile till his jaw ached.  The room was empty at the time: “What do they want me to smile at: the clothes?” he muttered.

The company told us it was an equal opportunity employer.  Funny, because all its visible staff are young and beautiful. The unattractive, the overweight and the disabled just don’t seem to make it on to the shop floor.

But employees who are not on public view are allowed to be slightly less attractive.  The “impact team” is a group of workers who replenish the dwindling stock.  They are often on the shop floor but don’t have to interact with customers in the same way.  A manager told me: “The impact team don’t need to show the visual image of the store.”

Christ.  The “visual image” of the store?  Translation:  we keep the ugly ones upstairs.  The ones without six-pack abs, the ones whose faces would never make it into one of our “budget porn” catalogs, the ones we’re ashamed of but who do the hardest work.  You must be pretty to work here, though we’ll gladly sell clothes to ugly people and tell them how hot they’ll look in them.  Ahhh, another successful American export!

I have a special loathing for Abercrombie & Fitch because of all the twentysomething gay men (and deluded thirtysomethings) who insist on shopping there.  Most of them tend to be skinny little twinks with frosted hair or jock types who describe themselves as “straight-acting.”  They see a muscle-monkey in the store window and are instantly compelled to buy the clothes, which means they all end up wearing the same stuff and looking exactly the same.  Aberzombies.  But it reveals a certain shallowness that I’d rather not associate with, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all…

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