Walking into an Abercrombie & Fitch store is like stepping into a catalog full of rail-thin models with perfectly tousled hair and sun-kissed skin—and that’s no accident. CEO Mike Jeffries isn’t shy about his love of beautiful, skinny people and what seems to be a disdain for anyone who doesn’t fit the mold.
This company belief is made somewhat obvious by the fact that the popular retailer only offers women’s clothing up to a size 10 (or large) while competitors like American Eagle, Aeropostale, H&M and Target embrace, and even celebrate, plus sizes up to 18.
Seven years ago, back in a 2006, Jeffries spoke openly about his clothing companies’ employment strategy in an interview with Salon.
“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,” he explained. “We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
Old wounds were reopened this week when Robin Lewis, author of “The New Rules of Retail” and The Robin Report spoke to Business Insider about Jeffries and these very topics that caused such a stir years ago.
Abercrombie’s judgment is alive and well.
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said of Jeffries. “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.'”
A quick Google search of the phrase “Abercrombie & Fitch” returns the company’s web site with the slogan, “Authentic American Clothing Since 1892.” If this company was truly being authentic to the American people, wouldn’t they sell clothing to fit the majority of the female population who now wear between a size 10 and 14?
“In Denial About Authentic American Clothing Since 1892” seems like a better fit.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.