Abercrombie tries on a brainy new attitude

In the wake of a "girlcott," the retailer promotes gray matter.

Published February 25, 2006 1:08AM (EST)

Remember that successful "girlcott" of Abercrombie & Fitch? Here's a (somewhat belated) update: In December, when we last saw the triumphant teens of Girls as Grantmakers from Allegheny County, Pa., they were visiting Abercrombie's New Albany, Ohio, headquarters to pitch some T-shirt ideas of their own, having already persuaded the retailer to nix the T-shirts that they found most offensive. Well, Abercrombie didn't use the girls' slogans, after all. Too bad. Yet, in January, the retailer started selling some "attitude tees" that send a different message, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Now, instead of "I had a nightmare I was a brunette," Abercrombie's selling "Brunettes are so hot right now." Instead of "Who needs brains when you have these?" now they're marketing: "Brunettes have brains" and "Blonde with a brain."

Er, we guess that's progress, even if it's also still selling tees that say: "Bitchy is my middle name." Susan Aschoff of the St. Petersburg Times writes: "The slogans were more affirming, less tawdry. And though they were created by Abercrombie, the girls believe they made the difference. 'It's a major, major accomplishment. In the meeting, I didn't feel like they were actually inspired to do it at all,' says Grantmakers member Maya Savage, 15. 'You never know.'"

No word yet on how the new brainy brunette-and-blonde T-shirts are selling compared with the old tawdry ones.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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