River Valley Man Gains International Attention With Social Movement
Greg Karber uploaded a video to YouTube challenging the policies of a popular clothing company. Less than one week later his video had been viewed nearly 7 million times.
“I had completely acclimated myself to uploading videos that no one would watch, and then everything changed,” said Karber.
The Southside High School and University of Arkansas graduate said he was living a relatively private life in Los Angeles while pursuing a career as a writer. He said he read comments made by Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries on social media that upset him.
“Among them were the statement that there were some people who would never be cool, could never be cool, never be popular, and that [Abercrombie & Fitch] did not care about those people,” said Karber.
Karber also took issue with the clothing company choosing to not carry women’s clothing in sizes beyond large.
“In doing more research for the company, I also found out that when clothing that they’ve made was damaged or in some way defective, instead of giving it away or using it for some charitable function, [Abercrombie & Fitch] would just burn it,” he said.
He said this fueled his fire and gave him the idea to give homeless people Abercrombie & Fitch clothing, and then encourage other people to do the same. Over the course of a weekend, he produced a video of him handing out the company’s clothing to homeless people on “Skid Row” in Los Angeles.
He called the movement “Fitch The Homeless.”
“The response was immediately electric,” said Karber. “People began to share it and send it to their friends almost instantly.”
The video has been shared countless times through social media and even got the attention of daytime talk show host Ellen Degeneres. Karber said he didn’t have a target audience in mind when making the video; he just wanted to start a conversation.
“I wanted to do something that would maybe draw awareness not only to their sort of exclusionary policies, but also just to how people shop in general. People should be more aware of the things they purchase and what that means.”
Karber admits to wearing Abercrombie & Fitch clothing during his time at Southside High School where he was co-editor of the school’s newspaper. He said he intentionally gave his favorite hometown restaurant a subtle shout out in the video seen by millions.
“I was wearing my George’s t-shirt, which I think is the best restaurant in the world,” said Karber of George’s Restaurant on Grand Avenue in Fort Smith.
Karber said Abercrombie & Fitch has not reached out to him about the video, but he said he doesn’t think his efforts went unnoticed.
“Two days after I uploaded it, the CEO sort of apologized for the comments he made which had generated most of the ire.”