In the hit song “Summer Girls” from 1999, LFOsThe lead singer memorably recalls, recalling “when I met you, I said my name was Rich. You looked like an Abercrombie and Fitch girl. Teenagers all over the world knew exactly what he meant. In the late 90s and early 2000s, who didn’t want to look like “an Abercrombie and Fitch girl?” Like the slogan of the documentary White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch says it, “all the cool kids wore it.”
White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch charts (unsurprisingly) the rise and fall of Abercrombie and Fitch. While the company was originally founded in 1892 to sell high-end sporting and camping goods, by the 1990s Abercrombie and Fitch was largely selling a preppy style marketed as “casual luxury” to American teenagers. who were rich and thin enough to buy it. The brand was shamelessly exclusive with the CEO Mike Jefferies sadly recounting Salon in 2006,
“Frankly, we chase cool kids. We are looking for attractive all american kid with a good attitude and lots of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they cannot belong. Are we exclusive? Absolutely.”
Abercrombie’s strict and problematic dress codes for their employees, whom the store officially called mannequins, were eventually taken to the Supreme Court when A&F refused to hire a Muslim woman because she wore a headscarf. The brand argued that it didn’t fit their “classic East Coast collegiate style.” The Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of the claimant, Samantha Elauf, noting that it was clearly religious discrimination to refuse to hire someone for wearing the hijab.
The sordid history of the elite fashion brand and the eventual backlash to its philosophy of exclusivity are covered in depth in Alison KlaymanThe Netflix documentary. the White hot documentary is directed by Alison Klayman and produced by Klayman, Hayley Dads, and Emmet McDermott. Klayman is best known for her 2012 documentary Ai Weiwei: Never sorry which won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Klayman’s most recent project was Shreddeda 2021 documentary about Alanis Morissette. Shredded was reasonably well received by critics and audiences, but was criticized by Morissette who was originally involved with the project but became unhappy with the way the film was cut and edited, telling The Washington Post:
“I was lulled into a false sense of security and their salacious agenda became apparent as soon as I saw the first cut of the film. It was then that I knew that our visions were in fact painfully divergent. This is not the story I agreed to tell.
Is there a trailer for White Hot?
Netflix released a trailer for the doc on March 31.
As “celebrity skin”, Hole‘s iconic song about the price of fame, plays, we’re shown those iconic Abercrombie ads from the late 90s and early 2000s and reminded of the stores’ larger-than-life presence in the malls with their “nightclub beats and bare-chested guys”. Abercrombie and Fitch’s shameless marketing, sizing and hiring practices are discussed by former employees who note the store’s glorification of being “young, thin and white”. it is stated that “Abercrombie is rooted in discrimination at all levels.” The trailer makes it clear that the focus will be on the legal fallout of this culture of discrimination and the Supreme Court case. The trailer ends with the memorable quote “they didn’t invent evil, they didn’t invent class, they just packed it up.”
Where can you watch White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch?
The documentary was released on Netflix on April 19, 2022. Although Netflix doesn’t currently offer free trials, it’s easy to subscribe to the streaming giant for just a month or two. White hot did not have a theatrical release and the documentary is not currently available for purchase on DVD.
Other documentaries like White Hot
FYRE: The Biggest Party That Ever Happened – If part of the appeal of White hot is the scandal of seeing overconfident business leaders with unethical marketing tactics fail spectacularly, so FIRE could be the documentary for you. Directed by Chris Smith, FIRE traces the failed rise and fall of the Fyre Festival. From the original celebrity sponsors and boxed cheese sandwiches and FEMA tents, to accusations of fraud and eventual lawsuits, the stranger-than-fiction history of the Fyre Festival is as fascinating as it is bizarre. FYRE: The Biggest Party That Never Happened is streaming on Netflix. If you need more Fyre Festival content, you can also check out HOME FRAUDHulu’s documentary about the famous festival.
WeWork: or the making and destroying of a $47 billion unicorn – WeWork became famous for popularizing the idea of coworking spaces, but in 2019, following the company’s failed IPO, the founder Adam Neumann resigned in disgrace. Parties, drugs and the eventual collapse of the controversial company and its founder are the subjects of Jed Rothsteinit is WeWork: or the making and destroying of a $47 billion unicorn. We work is streaming on Hulu.
The Inventor: Searching for Blood in Silicon Valley – Entrepreneur Elizabeth HolmesThe extreme interpretation of the phrase “fake it until you make it” has made her and her failed blood testing company, Theranos, objects of great fascination. His precipitous rise and fall are traced in Alex Gibneyit is The Inventor: Searching for Blood in Silicon Valley. The inventor includes interviews with two of Theranos’ whistleblowers, several former employees, and several journalists who covered the story as it unfolded. The documentary is streaming on HBO Max. It is also available for purchase on Amazon in digital and physical form.
The real cost – The real cost is a documentary that approaches the problems of the fashion industry from a different point of view than White hot, showing the alarming amount of waste and exploitation that lies behind the glossy advertisements and colorful garments of nearly every fashion brand. Directed by Andre Morganthis hard-hitting look at the origin of our clothes features interviews with fashion giants including Livia Firth, Vandana Shivaand Stella McCartney. The real cost is streaming on Tubi and is available on Amazon, both for purchase as DVD or for rental or purchase digitally.
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