Abercrombie and Fitch’s CEO, Mike Jeffries’ opinions about heavier women and his “exclusive” brand have come back to haunt him in the book “The New Rules of Retail,” by Robin Lewis.
In it Lewis brings back to light a 2006 interview in which Jeffries is quoted saying, “That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
Jeffries goes on to say that they want Abercrombie to have a sense of exclusiveness and only want the “cool people” at school wearing their clothing.
The idea of marketing a company like a high school is ludicrous, especially when its targeted audience are teenagers who face the daily pressures of fitting in.
Promoting a brand to the “popular” kids at school further alienates teenagers who are already feeling excluded from their peers.
What is more disturbing is that XL and XXL sizes are not available for women, but are for men.
This makes the company seem sexist. Why are only the larger size options available for men?
This feeds to women’s insecurities. Why make someone feel like they are not good enough for a clothing brand?
Teenage girls should not have to worry about trying to fit into a brand of clothes they want to wear. Jeffries is crossing a treacherous line by excluding a group of people for their weight, as it can play a part in creating eating disorders.
Jeffries also said, “Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they’re about to jump on a surfboard.”
In a time when more designers have taken a strong stance against hiring ultra thin models, Abercrombie is taking a step back by continuing to alienate full figured women by using Caucasian, tan and blonde models in the majority of their ads.
In an attempt to cover up the embarrassment of this quote Jeffries released a statement to try and calm the masses. The statement apologized for the “resurrected quote” that “has been taken out of context.” He went on to state: “We are completely opposed to any discrimination, bullying, derogatory characterizations or other anti-social behaviour based on race, gender, body type or other individual characteristics.”
This statement after media and consumers have criticized the CEO’s comments. The post even went up on the company’s Facebook page and was met with sarcastic and negative feedback. A lot of commenters pointed out that Jeffries straightforward statement could not have been taken out of context. Instead of remedying the situation, Jeffries just fanned the flames of hate for his company.
It seems like Jeffries was not part of the “cool” crowd in high school and is now trying to make up for his past insecurities.
Abercrombie needs to stop being the mean girl, step into 2013 and start embracing all different types of body types instead of only sharing how accepting the company is when they are being criticized.