Follow Up on Abercrombie and Fitch

Several days ago, I posted a link to an article critiquing clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch. Though I was unaware of it at the time, A & F had only recently made headlines for a controversy involving a local obscenity law.

If you didn’t see the story, here’s a quick summary. After receiving several complaints, police in Virginia Beach confiscated two poster advertisements from a local A & F store for being in violation of the city’s obscenity code. Though the store manager was initially issued a criminal citation, the charges were subsequently dropped after police determined they would have difficulty being upheld in court.

Though I presume it’s now mostly moot, A & F issued a statement during the controversy that I found interesting:

“The marketing images in question show less skin than you see any summer day at the beach. And certainly less than the plumber working on your kitchen sink. This is an incredible over reaction by city officials that would be comical except for its potentially serious legal implications. We will pursue our legal rights aggressively and fully expect to prevail.” — Tom Lennox, Vice President of Corporate Communications.

While I won’t recapitulate the previous critique here, I will say that I’m confident A & F will never use a shot of the proverbial plumber phenomenon on the wall of one of its stores. While the relevant amount of skin bared might be comparable to one of its promotional photos, it’s obvious the overall effect is decidedly different. And the effect of the photos is, of course, precisely the issue.

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