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Wow, as an owner of some Abercrombie I can say I am a little surprised at those t-shirts. I guess because I am usually looking at the sweaters or tops and not the t-shirts I never noticed before. But, they definitely are sending the wrong message. I hope you were able to steer your daughter in the right direction.


As the mother of an almost 12-year old, I feel the same way. The girl's t-shirts used to be much worse before a group of girls from Schenley high school in Pittsburgh arranged a boycott against Abercrombie and got the company to pull the offending items (something about big chests and blonde hair). Abercrombie does seem to be some sort of 'right of passage' with kids and prohibiting it only seems to make them want it more.

Shaping Youth

Hi Cooper & Emily! It's Amy here...checkin' in...Glad to see you posted this...

I grappled with the dilemma of 'hand-me-down' A&F jeans because the 'green' mom in me wanted to recycle, but as founder/exec. dir of www.ShapingYouth.org I found it hard to stomach my own preteen being a human billboard for a brand that's deployed vapid values to make a buck w/out consistently.

I just wrote about the A&F hospital wing naming rights on Shaping Youth here: http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=1216

Talk about ambient advertising. sheesh. Mind you, it's more than just the A&F appearance cues (or the racial slurs & shock schlock that got them into hot water prior) it's also of note that the A&F 'conglomerate' factor is setting the tone & removing other 'choices.'

For example, tonight I popped into Bath & Body Works to pick up some Easter basket lotions, and whammo, there's the Victoria's Secret "pink" line, (which tweens are ga-ga for w/the stuffed dog and awww cute innocence) building the bridge into the lacy/racy sex kitten style without missing a beat. The cross-marketing may be great for them, but not for me, since it 'limits' my choices...

Limited Brands owns the whole freakin' bunch...VS, B&BW, they (divested) and owned A&F which is now sister store to Hollister, yadayada. (In fact, you can almost set your clock by tweendom time when Limited Too is defunct and Hollister is the 'it' brand.)

The more co-branding and replication, with new stores exuding 'the coolness cache du jour' the fewer choices for identity and self-selection, which is why I keep saying we have to watch out, since 'media/mktg. are defining kids before they can define themselves.'

And...The 'message bleed' which seeps from one chain to another in 'age compression' is rushing childhood for us all.

As you know, as a nonprofit media maven/mom I track this stuff 24/7, so I can only put in a plea to those w/purchasing power to 'think before you buy' as those cues and stereotypes stick like bubblegum on a hot day.

You can try to scrape it off, but there's always a smear and a trace that remains; very, very hard to clean it off completely. Keep in touch, let's reconnect again soon! --a.

Shaping Youth

Crum...I forgot to leave you this Limited Brands/WikiInvest snapshot to make my point about the rise of 'one voice' and the fall of indie/diverse eclectic choice...

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