Expect a big stink over in midtown today. Advocacy group Teens Turning Green are planning a protest at Abercrombie & Fitch's Fifth Avenue location in New York to speak out against the chain's use of chemical-heavy scents in stores.
We're not talking about over-indulgent spraying. Unlike Abercrombie's typical flak -- which commonly pertains to loud in-store stereo volume, risque bill boards, and the like -- the group claims that the levels of the fragrance toxicity in the stores actually carries a serious health risk.
"We as teens feel it is unacceptable that Abercrombie and Fitch customers are unknowingly being exposed to harmful chemicals by simply walking into the stores," Jessica Assaf, co-organizer and president of the Turning Green Chapter at New York University, recently told Stylelist.
Reportedly, Abercrombie & Fitch pumps cologne through store ventilation systems and diffuses it through track lighting. Teens Turning Green argues that chemicals contained within those scents (some of which remain absent from bottle indredients lists) are toxic for consumers.
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Backing up Teens Turning Green in the fray is a flotilla of do-gooder organizations from the American Fertility Association to Physicians for Social Responsibility, in addition to Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
In response, Abercrombie & Fitch took to its Facebook page to defend its fragrance practice, stating: "Abercrombie & Fitch's iconic fragrance, Fierce, is an important part of our in-store experience and something our fans around the world love us for." In addition, the brand insisted that the oil chemicals within the fragrance comply with the standards set by the International Fragrance Research Association.
Considering the press the Fifth Avenue protest has generated, we'd bet there are more than a few folks who'd take issue with Abercrombie & Fitch's scenting -- especially those passing by the store who may have no intention of going inside (and aren't counted as A&F "fans," per se). As such, we wouldn't be surprised if this small protest in New York serves as a signal of things to come.