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Abercrombie & Fitch Catalog Fills Teen's Mind, Not Her Closet

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CHAPEL HILL — For hip teens, some of the trendiest clothes to be seen in are sold at Abercrombie & Fitch. But one Triangle teen says the company's new back-to-school catalog is not fit for young eyes.

Beth Anne Martin, 11, has a closet full of Abercrobie & Fitch clothes. She also has the company's newest catalog, courtesy of the Raleigh store. "I just picked it and up and told the lady I wanted to buy it," she says.

When Beth Anne got home, she started flipping through the pages.

"I was shocked," she says. "I didn't think -- I was like, 'Me reading this? I don't think so.'"

One of the pages she saw looked like a newspaper article, headline and all. But the page was filled with profanity and a picture of a woman naked from the waist up. Her mother calls the pictures pornography.

"How do you erase something like that from a child's memory?" Jennifer Martin asks. "She's going to remember it forever."

Martin says it was too easy for her daughter to buy the catalog. "Kids are able to go in there and just buy whatever they want. And the clerks, they're not discretionary when it comes to a young child coming up there. They just let anybody buy it."

A spokesperson at Abercrombie & Fitch's Columbus, Ohio headquarters says the catalogs all have stickers on the front warning parents, even though the catalog's target market is college students.

Angie Bend said the $6 magazine "has to be purchased or subscribe to. ... It's not something we're just sending out."

But Jennifer Martin says the company has taken advertising too far. "Do they need that in order to advertise their clothing?" Martin wonders.

This is not the first time the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog has stirred up controversy. Last summer's issue was supposed to contain a story called "Drinking 101," but the company removed the article before the catalog went to press.