You Fitch! The case against Abercrombie

 

Abercrombie and Fitch, the US clothing retailer known for its preppy casualwear and toned sales staff, has always prided itself on being an exclusive brand, but it is currently alienating so many people, it will soon be a small wonder if it has any customers left.

The last month alone has seen the company accused of being sizeist, elitist and ableist. And, while most of the incidents are taking place across the pond, the backlash is spreading across the internet, meaning it may be only a matter of time before it affects business in UK branches.

First came comments from Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, who told Business Insider that Abercrombie’s CEO, Mike Jeffries, “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people”. Indeed, while the chain provides men’s clothes in XL and XXL (to appeal to beefed-up young sportsmen), they fail to make or sell womenswear in any size above large.

The interview dragged up outlandish quotes that Jeffries gave in a 2006 piece in Slate, including: “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” The resurfacing of such comments inspired demonstrations outside an Abercrombie store in Chicago, while 18-year-old Benjamin O’Keefe created an online petition calling for a boycott of the store. It currently has more than 20,000 signatures. Jeffries has since released a statement suggesting his comments were taken out of context.

Then, last week, writer Greg Karber launched a campaign urging people to donate Abercrombie clothes to the homeless, to counter the ideal sold by A&F. In a YouTube clip that has been viewed six million times in less than a week, Karber hands out Abercrombie apparel to homeless people on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Which is also a bit offensive, if you think about it, but Karber’s heart is in the right place.

Meanwhile, a Denver-based federal judge ruled last week that the entrances to hundreds of Hollister stores (the teen-focused brand of Abercrombie) violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and, despite ordering Abercrombie to work with disability rights advocates, the two sides failed to come to an agreement.

Whether Abercrombie’s behaviour affects sales at the $4bn company remains to be seen. But you can bet its public relations department is currently working overtime.

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

    £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'