martes, octubre 4, 2022
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White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch movie review (2022)

At its best, White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch is a powerful blend of nostalgia and gloating. The opening musical cue of the guitar riff from Lit’s «My Own Worst Enemy» sling sends you back to the mall, a place that Doc tries to concisely (too briefly) speculate about with video clips (free for everyone, which includes «Mean Girls» and «Observe and report»). Then we get into the scandals behind a business that has been selling overtly homoerotic images to its desired heteronormative audience while also packaging «all-American, classic» clothing under the definition of sheer whiteness. There was the tyrannical behavior of disgraced CEO Mike Jeffries, who, as we learn, initially refused to comment on the film. His mentality and obsession with image made the company incredibly successful and also gave it a devastating popularity. It might be interesting to see how he got it right; it’s even more delightful to see how things fell apart when people started to resist his «all-American» concept.

Why tell this story now? The document sometimes struggles with this, and you can feel it in pace in the first half despite the fancy rendering and fast editing. Blue Devils loses some of its edge as well, becoming part of a one-off documentary filmmaking—yes, every talking head is presented as just seated, preparing for an interview, one of its more tedious tropes.

Kleiman has a little more focus when she channels the audience’s desire for outrage at how the company has taken a counter-intuitive approach to prohibitive business practices, showing how their focus on six-pack fascism and predominantly white leadership has led to their downfall. They not only promoted some sort of all-American white power in their ads, but also how they treated employees of color, leading to lawsuits and an increasingly overtly toxic image. This is a documentary where his point of view can also be found in paying attention to who is speaking and Kleiman makes it clear that he emphasizes non-white storytelling everywhere, be it Asian Americans like Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man Blog ) commenting on company t-shirts with racist designs, or Samata Elauf, who filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court for wearing a hijab. An important takeaway from this story is that these viewpoints have certainly always existed, but apart from garnering news attention, did not have a common outlet until the social media communities. And with that visibility, exceptional business practices are no longer cool. It is very good that there is not enough space in this documentary.

White Hot gets some head start by telling us the crude standards of what was considered appropriate (i.e. attractive) in their stores. It’s even a little funny to hear about how employees are ranked from «cool» to «cool» and their future working hours hang in the balance. But there seems to be a lot more to be said about how the consumer mentality of young people has changed since the late 90s, including how young people now feel about individuality. (They would rather wear a shirt that says «MUSHROOM» than clothes that show conformity.) A fuller understanding of the culture that supplied A&F with hundreds of millions of dollars and then ditched that popularity is a big missing piece.

Lover of movies and series. rather. lover to the cinema in generating. I hope you like my blog.


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