Pop quiz. Who is this man?
A.) A preppy high schooler with some sort of facial disorder
B.) Gary Busey
C.) KELLYq's boyfriend
D.) The 61-year-old CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch
The answer, of course, D. His name is Mike Jeffries and he was profiled
in 2006 by a Salon writer, but I randomly came across the article this
week when it was linked over at Cynical-C. It seemed particularly
relevant in light of Monday's post. The article is basically so full
of amazing quotes that I want to copy and paste the whole thing here,
but I will restrain myself to just a few, like the opening paragraph:
Mike Jeffries, the 61-year-old CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, says
"dude" a lot. He'll say, "What a cool idea, dude," or, when the jeans
on a store's mannequin are too thin in the calves, "Let's make this
dude look more like a dude," or, when I ask him why he dyes his hair
blond, "Dude, I'm not an old fart who wears his jeans up at his
surprisingly, Jeffries' obsession with youth and masculinity will be a
key theme in this profile. Oh, and speaking of obsessing:
Mike Jeffries is the Willie Wonka of the fashion industry . . .
Examples of his strange behavior abound. According to Business Week, at
A&F headquarters Jeffries always goes through revolving doors
twice, never passes employees on stairwells, parks his Porsche every
day at the same angle in the parking lot (keys between the seats, doors
unlocked), and has a pair of "lucky shoes" he wears when reading
Now, I will never fault anyone
for being OCD, because that would be just a tad hypocritical. In fact,
this is one of the quotes in the article that had me feeling pity for
this crazy man. But it's hard to stay sympathetic when he says things
like this next quote.
Our first bump came when I mentioned the 2002 uproar over the company's
thongs for middle-school girls, which had "Eye Candy" and "Wink Wink"
printed on their fronts. "That was a bunch of bullshit," he said,
sweating profusely. "People said we were cynical, that we were
sexualizing little girls. But you know what? I still think those are
cute underwear for little girls."
tells me that if the audio of this video were available, we'd find that
the way he says "little girls" is shudder-inducing.
And what about those T-shirts I was so outraged by this week?
Remarkably, Jeffries says he has a "morals committee for T-shirts"
whose job it is to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen.
"Sometimes they're on vacation," he admits with a smile. "Listen, do we
go too far sometimes? Absolutely. But we push the envelope, and we try
to be funny, and we try to stay authentic and relevant to our target
customer. I really don't care what anyone other than our target
Touche, Mr. J. I see my opinion matters not.
plenty more in the article--it goes into detail about what it's like to
work at A&F's corporate headquarters, for example, and talks about
the various lawsuits the company has faced for its discriminatory
hiring practices and general douchebaggery. It also touches on more of
Jeffries' eccentricities and insinuates that he is gay. Read the whole thing here.