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Rebranding Abercrombie the 'No. 1 Brand of Homeless Apparel?'

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See video below
See video below

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There's been quite a kerfuffle recently over Abercrombie & Fitch's branding tactics. The company has long been known for its exclusionary image and its extremely limited size range. It is also one of (admittedly many) retailers who opt to shred unsold or damaged clothing, rather than donating it or recycling it. And this month, comments made by C.E.O. Michael Jeffries in a 2006 Salon interview were republished in a Business Insider story, and began to go viral. Jeffries said:

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," he says. "Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

So there have been the inevitable Change.org petitions, the angry Tweets–and now, this viral video by Los Angeles-based writer Greg Karber. After recapping the latest criticisms of the company, Karber visits a thrift store and buys up all the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing he can find. He then goes to Skid Row and films himself giving the clothing to the homeless men and women he finds there. He says he's out to turn Abercrombie into "the world's number one brand of homeless apparel."

It has to be said that the homeless people in the video don't seem to know what to make of Karber or his little charity sortie. Maybe they have more urgent needs than the need for a branded polo shirt? Or maybe they are human beings who don't want to be instrumentalized to make a political point. No homeless people actually speak in the video; it's all just Karber's own voice-over narration. So it's not clear how or whether, from the homeless perspective, Karber is actually helping anything.

Abercrombie & Fitch is no saint on this issue–there are charities that are equipped to handle clothing donations appropriately, which it could be using. It's hard to come off like as much of an ignorant jerk as a huge corporation that's famous for settling multi-million-dollar employment-discrimination lawsuits, shredding clothing, and a no-fatties policy, but Karber actually manages it. — Jenna Sauers

· Campaign Mocks A&F CEO by Donating Brand's Clothes to Homeless [Mashable]
· All Clothing Shredding Coverage [Racked NY]