Image conscious clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, is in the headlines yet again with its penchant for courting controversy. Eg. It had to pay £9000 compensation after losing a legal case brought by a student who wore a prosthetic arm, who claimed she was discriminated against for not conforming to the firm’s policy on staff appearance.
This time they have hit the headlines for their policy not to stock larger sizes.
In an interview with Business Insider, Robin Lewis author of The New Rules of Retail, said of Mike Jeffries ( CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch):
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people….“He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”
Lewis comments have their origins in a 2006 article (The man behind Abercrombie & Fitch by Benoit Denizet-Lewis) when CEO Mike Jeffries was quoted as saying:
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids.
“Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? …. Absolutely.”
In response Mike Jeffries stated on the company website:
“Diversity and inclusion are key to our organization’s success….We are determined to have a diverse culture, throughout our organization, that benefits from the perspectives of each individual.”
There is an online petition on Change.org with over 3,670 signatures; the objective of which is to pressure the company into changing its ‘no large sizes’ policy.