Abercrombie & Fitch Controversy: “Are We Exclusionary? Absolutely”

    May 9, 2013
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

The CEO of cool-kid retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is dealing with some backlash this week after it was noted that he doesn’t want his stores selling size XL and above.

The store has garnered quite a bit of negative attention lately after a Florida man started a petition on Change.org to get the retailer to carry bigger sizes. 18-year old Benjamin O’Keefe says, “In a world where teens are constantly under pressure to fit the societal norms of beauty, we should be building them up and helping them love themselves.”

With so much focus on body image in today’s youth culture, many stores have branched out in their sizing options to ensure that all their customers are happy, but A&F CEO Mike Jeffries has said in the past that he doesn’t want to go the way his competitors have.

“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….”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 told Salon in 2006.

That may have been seven years ago, but Jeffries doesn’t appear to have changed his mind. The company has been in hot water before over his decisions to use young, sexed-up models and his hiring practices inside the stores, but the company hasn’t changed much. The difference between now and then, however, is that many more young people are taking a stand against exclusionary practices.

  • jj

    I think this is exclusionary and elitist too. I’ve had a couple of high priced items from AF but obviously I wasn’t the “moose” he so insultingly alludes to, who aren’t fit to wear AF’s clothes. I will stand behind my larger sisters and brothers as well as myself since I probably put on about seven pounds. The mere idea that larger kids are not cool is so far out, it’s unbelievable. The hefty guy or girl who were nice looking and well groomed always made an impact in High school and other places. Morbid obesity is otherwise a health issue which I can understand anyone’s concern for but not to the point of his statements.

  • Autumn

    It’s pretty sad to see such a powerful, well known company support such a negative view. I completely understand target marketing. Even to specific size groups. But to base a company off of popularity in school seems a bit juvenile for such a successful company. They, as a clothing company, should know that people come in all shapes and sizes, and popularity doesn’t mean being a size 4. By deciding to go this route they are closing themselves off to a great opportunity of growth. But, in all honesty, I’m personally okay with that… Go ahead, because I won’t be buying anything from there.

  • http://www.baidu.com Abercrombie Fitch

    “In every school Abercrombie Fitch are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” Jeffries said in a 2006 interview with the online magazine Salon.Abercrombie Fitch

  • LK

    Not so Hott yourself Mr. CEO!

  • JH

    My guess is that Mike Jeffries was nowhere close to a ‘cool kid’ when he was in school and by surrounding himself by beautiful kids in his company, he is deluding himself into believing that he too is ‘cool’ and ‘beautiful’. Sorry dude…take a look in the mirror. You never have been nor ever will be anything but UGLY in both looks and in your heart. By the way…I was one of the ‘populars’ in school and I think your brand of bigotry is reprehensible!

  • Cheryl Morrison

    I have never worn anything that said Abercrombie & Fitch on it….and apparently I can’t even if I wanted to. I really dislike wearing anything with someone else’s name on it as an advertisement for them, unless one of the following 1. I got it for almost free with a coupon or sale. 2. They have to pay me to wear it. 3. Someone I love gave it to me as a gift. 4. I am promoting a family business, charity or musician I personally love. As a rule, I don’t do business with anyone that isn’t willing to do business with me. I rarely buy anything with someone else’s name on it.

  • Cheryl Morrison

    I always thought their styles were ugly from what I saw. I did take a friend there that didn’t know how to drive or speak fluent English. She was Asian and said that they loved the clothes. It was not my style at all. Also way too overpriced I was able to discourage her to shop for most of the items elsewhere.

  • Alicia Hemphill

    I can’t believe that in today’s society with all that has been going on that aas a retailer he would be so ignorant as to say that his clothes are for the “cool” kids! I hate the fact that I have purchased my daughters clothing from Abercromie. My daughter is popular, but she has friends from all different backgrounds, and of all sizes! These comments have disgusted me and you will NEVER see anothe dollar from me and my family! I know this will not change the fact that you will continue to make money and get rich, but Not off my dollar!!!!

  • http://www.zimbaimports.nuvemshop.com.br Alexandre

    Obrigado .

  • joey

    You have made plenty of dollars in the past, but soon you will see, that simple yet childish words can make a big change in your pockets. But you think by advertising a bunch of athlectic built models in your cloths can pursue people to buy. Shoot as far as i know hour raggs are made by the same place that makes the walmart cloths. Your so done for. Goodluck.

  • LAS

    This is beyond deplorable on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin. I am so glad that their obnoxious cologne and loud music have kept me away all these years because if I owned any of their clothes I would burn them immediately. And the guy who made the statement should look in the mirror–you aren’t young, you aren’t cool. So stop wearing your own brand.

  • Michael

    Ahh..so that’s the reason I’ve never liked Abercrombie and fitch they’re marketing only to snobby assholes,I definitely would never buy anything by that brand now!

  • Stewie_Griffon

    A&F is the official clothing for douche bags. I have never been a fan of their clothing. They generally look like clothes you would find at a thrift store w/ the letters “A&F” sewn on & marked up 400%.

    If they do not make clothes in your size, then look elsewhere. If the company is not willing to cater sizes to larger body types, why bother giving your money to someone who discriminates against you?

    Besides, search for Michael Jeffries online. This guy should not be throwing stones. His face alone would get him kicked out of the in-crowd & the popular people he favors. Michael Jeffries himself is NOT an attractive ‘all-American’ person. For him to shop at his own store is an oxymoron.