Abercrombie & Fitch, the leading fashion brand much favoured by teenagers, have been accused of only making clothes for thin women and ignoring plus sized consumers completely. The US retailer which has a plethora of male models without shirts on and girls in hot pants on their website, don’t tell trousers for women over a size 10, and many of their items come in the teeny size of 00.
Robin Lewis, the co-author of The New Rules of Retail, says that the company’s approach effectively excludes larger, potential female customers from wearing any of its clothing range.Abercrombie & Fitch do sell mens items up to a size XXL but Mr Lewis, among others, believes that this is a marketing ploy to appeal footballers and muscular wrestlers.
The CEO of the company, Mike Jeffries, explained in an interview in 2006 about his approach to appealing to young, sporty customers while excluding others. He annoyed many when he said that they hired good looking people in their ships because that would attract other good looking people into the store, and they wanted to market their products to only good looking, cool people, and they were the only target market.
Last year, it emerged that Abercrombie & Fitch store employees had to partake in physical exercise at work in order to maintain their thin and beautiful look. According to an email sent by the company, male employees at their flagship store in Milan, Italy had to do 10 push ups, and any women who were failing to measure up had to do 10 squats.
The firm is no stranger to controversy as in 2009. they had to pay £8000 to an emplyee who had a prosthetic arm for ‘unlawful harassment and in 2010 they sparked outrage by banning 18 year old Harriet Phipps, a shop assistant at their Southampton outlet, from wearing a poppy as they said it wasn’t part of her uniform. After the outcry Abercrombie & Fitch changed their policy.