Uh… is there a safe word?!
[Image via Steven Klein/Interview Magazine.]
Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't stock women's clothing in XL or XXL sizes because they don't want anybody who doesn't fit their particular body ideal to wear their clothing!
Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail blames Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries' personal attitude toward overweight people as the reason for the lack of plus-sized clothing on the racks.
"He doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people. He doesn't want his core customers to see people who aren't as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they're one of the "cool kids". Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they're about to jump on a surfboard."
Also, according to Lewis, Abercrombie offers men's sizes in XL and XXL to appeal to more athletic builds, but the author doubts that the company will ever sway from its size-ist standards.
Jeffries himself admitted as much in a 2006 interview, saying:
"That’s why 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. We don’t market to anyone other than that. 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. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. 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."
Hmm. We're not sure this particular strategy is working too well, because H&M and American Eagle, which just happen to be Abercrombie's main competition, seem to be doing quite well by being inclusive.
Abercrombie also doesn't stock women's pants above a size 10 while H&M and American Eagle stock pants up to sizes 16 and 18, respectively.
It could be argued that H&M is actually bigger and more successful than Abercrombie (just take a look at their campaign stars!), and they don't practice any of this "exclusionary" nonsense whatsoever.
We wouldn't wanna shop anywhere that could be so prejudiced.
[Image via WENN.]