The heads of Abercrombie & Fitch issued an apology this week after several people traveled to the company’s headquarters in Ohio in protest.
The clothing brand, which is aimed at “young, cool kids” according to CEO Mike Jeffries, has been under fire recently after comments Jeffries made in a 2006 Salon interview were re-published in a new book about retail. At the time, Jeffries had this to say about the brand and why they didn’t want to sell above a size large to women:
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he says. “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. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
The comments brought a firestorm of backlash against A&F, and against Jeffries in particular. So much so, in fact, that a petition was started on Change.org to get the company to change their ways. Then, on Wednesday, a group of teens went to the company’s headquarters to make their voices heard. Reportedly, they spoke with the people in charge at length, and afterwards, Abercrombie released this statement:
“We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion. We want to reiterate that we sincerely regret and apologize for any offense caused by comments we have made in the past which are contrary to these values.”
Of course, only time will tell if they will change the way they do business; it’s probably going to take more than a protest to get Jeffries to change his mind about his customers.