Tucson blogger rebrands Abercrombie to include everyone

2013-05-22T00:00:00Z 2013-05-22T13:24:52Z Tucson blogger rebrands Abercrombie to include everyoneHannah Gaber Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The models smolder at the camera, embodying familiar sensuality, all-American catalog cool. What might jump out next could be their tattoos.

Or maybe that he is more slender than she. Much more.

Tucsonan Jes Baker, the female model in the photos, said the juxtaposition of such bodies is in direct response to what she calls the "sizeism" of Abercrombie & Fitch's CEO.

Baker writes a blog called the Militant Baker. On May 19, she posted the black-and-white, Abercrombie-esque photos and co-opted the signature "A&F" logo to mean "Attractive & Fat."

She posted the photos alongside a letter to CEO Mike Jeffries in response to some comments he made in 2006.

Back then, Jeffries said in an interview with Salon magazine: "In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. ... We go after the attractive all-American kid. ... A lot of people don't belong (in our clothes), and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

Those comments have been back in the news quite a bit lately, as has widespread backlash.

On May 15, Jeffries wrote on the company's Facebook page: "While I believe this 7-year-old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context, I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense."

Baker's post on www.themilitantbaker.com went viral. It has appeared on the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Jezebel.com. Baker said Abercrombie has not contacted her; the company also did not respond to a Star message left Tuesday.

"I think that my original point is that all kids are really cool," Baker said. "What one person says, no matter how wealthy they are, is not going to make people change who they are."

Baker said she got calls from Yahoo and NBC, and by Tuesday, she was getting on a plane to New York to appear on the "Today" show tentatively on Thursday.

"This is what activists dream of," Baker said.

Her activism is to destigmatize, Baker said. She works as an advocate for adults with mental-health issues, and said her blog advocates for "every single person who's been told that their body is not OK."

"The world is moving in inclusive ways," Baker said, and the whirlwind response to her letter and images reflects that.

But, she said, there's no need for arguing or negativity, either.

"All people need to do is see more images like the ones I put out," Baker said, "and I guarantee you that the shock will disappear."

Contact reporter Hannah Gaber at hgaber@azstarnet.com or 573-4179.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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