Fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is getting a new image, whether they like it or not.
Los Angeles-based filmmaker Greg Karber has launched a viral video campaign in an attempt to crack open the company's exclusivity mission.
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The film follows a Change.org petition calling for a boycott of the clothing company over the the lack of plus size offerings. It also comes on the heels of a recently resurfaced quote from CEO Mike Jeffries. "Candidly, we go after the cool kids," Jeffries said in an interview with Salon in 2006. "A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
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That message didn't sit well with Karber, who took a camera to the streets of Los Angeles in an attempt to “change their brand." He films himself scouring the racks of a local GoodWill for armfuls of used A&F clothing, which he then distributes throughout Los Angeles’ Skid Row, a section of the city that houses one of the largest homeless populations in America.
Karber then urges viewers to look through their closets and donate them to homeless shelters. His goal: “To make Abercrombie & Fitch the world’s number one brand of homeless apparel.”
On Wednesday, two days after Karber's video was posted to Youtube, it had already racked up over 1 million views, and 16,000 likes.
On YouTube, commenters call Karber a “legend” and pledged to donate their A&F clothing accordingly. However, others call Karber hypocritical, pointing to the video's scathing introduction. “Abercrombie & Fitch is a terrible company," Karber says in the video's opening voice-over. "Their CEO insists on only hiring attractive people, which is ironic because their CEO looks like this.” A photo of Jeffries appears on the screen. “In addition, he has made a point of refusing to sell X-L or XXL clothing to women because he doesn’t want larger women wearing his clothes.”
Detractors claim Karber is as bad as Jeffries' for his decision to mock the CEO's appearance. He's also accused of exploiting homeless people to forward his own agenda. “The irony is that, you did to the homeless, what A&F did to the uncool kids. You used them as an example of the lowest people you could find to pull off your trashing of A&F,” wrote one commenter. Karber, an Arkansas Native who has his own production company according to Facebook, hasn't responded to Yahoo! Shine's request for a comment.
Despite the mixed reactions, Karber's message is clearly getting out there. On Twitter, his campaign has been boiled down to a trending hashtag: #Fitchthehomeless. It's already been retweeted by thousands.