Abercrombie and Fitch to Undergo Changes

Abercrombie and Fitch to Undergo Changes

Written by Amanda Clark

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and there are the not-so-cool kids…we go after the cool kids.” Mike Jeffries, ex-CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch.

Jeffries’ body-shaming comments left the store with a bad reputation and a drop in sales.  Jeffries retired from the company in December of 2014, and since then, the Abercrombie and Fitch has undergone some major changes.

When Jeffries was in charge, the biggest size for a women’s shirt was a large and the biggest jean size was a 10, while the men’s biggest size for a shirt was XXL. Jeffries stated that men get bigger sizes because they work out and have a muscular build.. The pounding music and dark lights in the store are there for a reason. Jeffries said this shows that, “Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they’re about to jump on a surfboard.”

During the time he was CEO, the employees had to be good-looking and preppy. Jeffries said, “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.”

When people questioned Jeffries about why he only targeted to good-looking people his response was, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

When questioned about his opinion he saw nothing wrong with it and stated he just wanted a preppy vibe. The store prevented 67% of the American population who shop for clothes from buying their brand, but still grossed five billion dollars a year due to their high prices.

In response to these body shaming attacks, blogger Jes at the Militant Baker wrote a letter to Jeffries and made her own “fat ads.” These ads are the exact same ones in the store window only with a heavier man and woman.

Several people reached out to Jeffries saying his opinion was wrong and shallow. Many people with pasts consisting of eating disorders and depression have explained how even the smallest of comments can affect someone very deeply and change their entire feelings about their body.

Retail competitors with Abercrombie and Fitch such as H&M and American Eagle seized the opportunities Abercrombie and Fitch passed up. Both stores sell up to XXL for men and women and have a larger size for both genders in pants.

Jeffries’ response was, “Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

Since Jeffries has left, the brand has evolved and grown from their past mistakes.

There has been new leadership, and more diverse people are allowed to work there due to a lawsuit filed when a Muslim woman was not allowed to wear her traditional head scarf while she was working.

The brand is also relaxing their logos saying that little to no appearances of their logo will be seen in the coming year. They have begun to sell black clothes, going against Jeffries claim that black is too formal and not preppy enough for the brand. The half- naked models and sexual marketing has disappeared. There are no models on the bags and no posters of models in sexual poses hanging in the entrance. The strong cologne scent in the store has been reduced by 25% and the lights that were once very dim have become brighter. Abercrombie and Fitch has realized their shameful comments have been nothing but negative and have even started an anti-bullying campaign selling shirts that read “Be Yourself.”

Abercrombie and Fitch has not always been the most accepting store, but they are on the road to accepting everybody- no matter their shape, race, or size.