Abercrombie & Fitch criticized for excluding larger body types

Abercrombie stores are known for their muscular, half-naked models that help to boost sales by acting as greeters
Abercrombie is known for the muscular, shirtless models that boost sales by acting as greeters at store entrances. Photo by Natalitiameom, via Wikimedia Commons

Abercrombie & Fitch is receiving bad press once again after past racism and sex scandal lawsuits, this time for statements that CEO Mike Jeffries has made about the brand’s target audience.

Abercrombie limits who can wear its clothing by refusing to stock sizes past a Large for women; XL and XXL sizes are stocked for men only to accommodate muscular sportsmen. “We want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” Jeffries said in an interview.

Though this policy may do a good job of creating brand elitism that makes wearers feel like part of a special “in” club, its exclusivity is causing a barrage of bad publicity to add to the scandals of the clothier’s past. Many journalists are also contrasting Abercrombie & Fitch’s approach to that of the popular Swedish brand H&M, which recently used plus-sized model Jennie Runk as the face of its latest swimwear collection.

Despite all the negative buzz, its worth noting that Abercrombie has effectively navigated past criticism for its sexually explicit advertising, racist hiring policies, and more. Its survival and continued flourishing makes one wonder if buyers really care about the brand’s reputation, as long as they like the clothes sold. If the average American shopper isn’t even concerned with the basics of ethical consumerism regarding working conditions and the environment, why is it any surprise that body elitism doesn’t affect their buying habits, either?

Read more news perspectives on Mike Jeffries’ comments here; then take a look at the beautiful new face of H&M swimwear here.

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