Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries apparently thinks ugly and overweight people are not “cool enough” to wear his products.
In a 2006 interview with Salon, Jeffries was quoted as saying: “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….A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
Jeffries comments recently resurfaced in interviews following the publication of the book “The New Rules of Retail,” and went viral after critics formed online protests.
Amanda Brea, 16, doesn’t agree with the policy but believes Jeffries has the right to voice his own opinion.
“It’s his business so he can do whatever he wants with it,” says Brea, who goes to the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. “I feel that’s unfair. But it’s not my company…He will lose a lot of money and customers because not everyone is skinny or pretty.”
In a Facebook post from the Abercrombie & Fitch page, Jeffries attempted to make amends but stopped short of an apology. “I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense,” he wrote. “A&F is an aspirational brand that, like most specialty apparel brands, targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers. However, we care about the broader communities in which we operate and are strongly committed to diversity and inclusion.”
News reports earlier this year said that Jeffries had been stripped of his chairman role at the company.
On a recent trip to Abercrombie & Fitch, Teens in Print brought along a 15-year-old girl who wears sizes four to six when shopping for pants. At A&F, she couldn’t pull the size six pants over her thighs.
When the 15-year-old asked if they carried any “curvy” pants, the clerk replied that the store only had “skinny to super-skinny.”
Nancy Aleid, 17, thinks Abercrombie & Fitch’s sizing system is dangerous.
“This is promoting anorexia in a way by making young people feel as if their weight and size isn’t embraced by society,” says Aleid, who goes to the O’Bryant.
Tia Knowles, 17, from Snowden International High School, feels that Abercrombie & Fitch is sexist and unfair.
“Self-image,” says Knowles, “comes in different shapes and sizes.”