Abercrombie & Fitch CEO 'doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people'
Abercrombie & Fitch CEO 'doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people'
By Carina Adly MacKenzie | May 7, 2013 11:59 PM ET
Unlike competitors American Eagle and H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch does not carry women's size XL in its stores. A 2006 interview with the CEO of the clothing company, Mike Jeffries, has recently resurfaced -- in which he explains that he hasn't expanded his sizes like his competitors, because he does not want fat, uncool, or unpopular people wearing the brand.
"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," he told Salon.com. "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."
This recently caught the attention of Robin Lewis, author of "The New Rules of Retail." In a Business Insider interview, Lewis said that Jeffries doesn't want fat people to be seen in his stores, because he feels it'll bring down the brand. "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," explains Lewis.
The Abercrombie CEO doesn't mind leaving out the "uncool" kids.
"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," he says.
Hasn't A&F closed a bunch of stores? And on that note I saw some kids clowning another kid who was wearing an A&F shirt. I'm assuming that the brand is over.
Too bad his clothes are over.
Middle-schoolers could tell you that.
Socially tolerated psychopathy is funny!
Is A&F still a thing? The last time I saw anyone wearing that stuff it was a few years ago on some short and uptight old queen riding the A train.
he's a dumb cunt
He's the County Seat of the 21st century.
Of course vendors target specific populations in the retail clothing business- also the food and fast food business, and car industry etc. But CEO's rarely commit to such obviously hurtful statements which if this CEO had half a brain, would realize can hurt the brand perhaps more that fat people in his stores.
I'd do the same thing if I had a clothing brand whose image I wanted to uphold. I've never understood for the life of me why designers like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren make XXL clothes...do they really want those people waddling around in their brand?
Bedbugs were found in some of the stores. That hurt the brand. He looks like someone who got his head slammed into his locker on a daily basis by "the cool kid" in high school. What a tool.
The CEO looks like Gary Busey had a kid with Rocky "MASK" Dennis. God I wish Mad TV were still around to do another parody.
fat kids can't fit into those clothes anyway.
it's a moo point.
Mike Jeffries has always been an embarrassment.
He's a terrible manager. During the recession he refused to cut prices and A&F lost money hand over fist. He won't introduce new products, and his aesthetic is that of a 12 year old boy, which is not his target market.
Ironic, isn't it, that he mentions old people.
I couldn't agree more
Oooh, there's gonna be an alley beating.
Isn't it rather odd that someone profusely ugly claims his brand is for the cool kids? No way was that guy the cool kid, ever. YOu don't have to be hot to be cool, but you can't be as ugly as him, either.
He can get as many eye lifts as he wants, wear A&F clothes, and stay thin. He'll still be atrocious. Like a circus freak.
Maybe we should send him a link to this thread.
[quote] I've never understood for the life of me why designers like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren make XXL clothes...do they really want those people waddling around in their brand?
Fat people make better billboards.
Wow. The "cool kid" quote and all of the other blather sounds like something a high school sophomore would say. I am amazed that a man pushing 70 would have such a case of arrested development and walk around with that kind of 'cool kid' mentality.
He has sold his soul to the devil of superficiality and doesn't even realize it. The fact that he appears to be obsessed with being exclusionary based on looks does not bode well for his mental health as he continues to age.
If you google his name and see some of the images that come up for him prior to his botched/grotesque plastic surgery, he looked fine.
He appears to be obsessed with 'beauty' and doesn't realize the irony of how ugly it has made him physically and intellectually.
No one has mentioned yet that he is wearing flip-flops.
What's wrong with flip flops?
I saw on wikipedia that he's not married. Big surprise there. Has a kid, but who would have him long term? And with that judgmental attitude, he'd surely find something wrong with any longterm partner.
You can't get the stink off of their clothes. I still have no idea why he decided that each store needs to smell like hundreds of bottles of cologne were spilled.
Unless as a joke or to a Halloween Party, wouldn't a genuine member of the moneyed elite see themselves in hell before wearing A&F?
He looks fat.
Jesus, he's looks like a Circuit Party Frankenstein. that doesn't look like plastic surgery as much as someone threw acid in his face.
Of course he wasn't a cool kid. That's what motivates him now. I bet he was a fattie.
There are many truly beautiful/handsome people, that are both XXL and relatively "fat-free," or isn't this "genius" aware of that fact? How about pro-volleyball players and swimmers, who have larger, muscular bodies? (I think that I got the sports/body match correct.)
You really think swimmers and volleyball players need size XXL clothing, R29? Did you ride the short bus?
R30, How about fit football players? High level security guards? I've met many large men that aren't fat, just huge. No, I don't know who to really interpret men's sizes.
Lol at the picture posted at R1. People who live in glass houses...
That photo is like ten years old. Today he looks more like Gollum.
Considering how far A&F's stock has plummeted, he doesn't want anyone shopping in his company's stores!
A&F needs to come out with a line of head bags. God knows he needs one.
The first time I ever saw someone who wasn't "normal" to my five-year-old brain, it was a friend's brother who had hydrocephalis (water on the brain). I accidentally walked into his bedroom on my way back to the kitchen from the bathroom. I was too scared even to scream.
The Queen of A&F is even more frightening than that.
He has come full circle.
When he was young and awkward, the cool kids laughed at him, but then he became rich and successful.
Now he's and old freak, and the cool kids are back to laughing at him and his dreadful clothes.
Pushing 70? Yikes. He has a Jocelyn Wildenstein look about him.
He looks like he is playing around with human growth hormone.
Life as a greeter. But here's the thing: those screaming young girls aren't buying anything at A&F.
What he said might have been fine in 2006 but it doesn't fly in 2013. People now are more about tolerance, anti-bullying, embracing the nerds, celebrating your inner geek. People now will view his words as creating a hostile environment where bullying can occur.
Another nerd who now thinks he is one of the beautiful people. He needs to be brought down.
This is what he looked like before plastic surgery
Talk about self-loathing. He's desperate to judge others because deep down he's aware of how hideous he looks. What a monster. I'm looking forward to the late night comedians pointing out the irony of his "beautiful people" statement.
There are companies that cater to big, plus sized, big & tall, etc. Targeting a specific market segment isn't exactly a new idea.
If he wants to cater to a specific size, more power to him. He's doing everyone a favor, anyway - when you see A&F on someone, you know their personality at a glance and can avoid the toxic "exclusive" personality who buys into that nonsense.
He looks like a caricature. Why do people blow up their individual features like balloons?
The fraus are going nuts over this on Facebook today.
He looks like his face started to fall off and they taped it back on. He's fooling no one with that toupee either.
Death Becomes Him
Good God.... That CEO is uglier than shit.
I hope he doesn't go around wearing the brand.
One of the local gay bars did that with their promo T-shirts -- their largest size was XL (which was smallish and ran more like an large) because the owner said he didn't want his bar's logo on a bunch of fat people.
Nothing funnier then seeing an old buzzed cut queen wearing Abercrombie. Nothing.
He looks like that thing from the Goonies with a Suze Orman make-over- which is an inexplicable look I've noticed a bunch of wealthy middle-aged men sporting, and I do not get it at all.
They are absolutely huge in the UK. Every middle class child has to have countless items to fit in with everyone else. Crazy how its evolved into a status symbol here.
I think he's just trying to get publicity for this washed up clothing line.
How was R43 able to post a pic without any text?
[quote]The fraus are going nuts over this on Facebook today.
Sad old man looks like a troll that stole some dentures. Hope he and his sad little chain store disappear.
I do have to laugh at anything that makes the frauds rabid, even if he is disgusting.
Remember his jet rules?
I can appreciate his honesty.
But, would fat people really decrease the sales or the coolness of the brand?
Whoever said he looks like a male Jocelyn Wildenstein was right on the money.
Poor guy must be ready to jump off a bridge after this gaff. He'll NEVER live it down. He's so scary ugly that the irony is too perfect to ignore. He'll be the butt of jokes 'til the day he dies.
The brand is hot still but the cut off is 18. You don't see college kids and older wanting A&F.
Why is this news now? Isn't this interview from 2006? Is someone trying to tear down this guy or the brand, or, they are doing some sort of weirdo jujitsu counter intuitive marketing?
[quote]What he said might have been fine in 2006
Uh, no. Not even in 2006
A&F, the label of choice for vapid douchebags well before 2006.
Agree with R9. Over-extending your brand can damage it and remaining focused on your demographic/customers will at least keep you somewhat relevant instead of looking desperate.
That said, is A&F still a thing on college campuses and high school, anymore?
I have to admit that they make high quality bro wear. I still have a hoodie that I brought five-seven years ago and it's still warm, not worn through and even the letters comprising the logo is clean. Everything I buy from American Eagle falls apart in a year or so.
I hope NBC orders the largest sizes of his t-shirts for the next season of The Biggest Loser and makes the contestants wear them on Day 1.
I have been told, so its only a rumor, that A&F keeps an separate bank account just for settlements. They would rather pay hush money to an applicant who threatens to sue than hire someone who is older than their target demographic.
Suppose a plus-sized person wanted to buy something from A&F as a gift? Do they have a scale at the door like Disney has height measuring thingies? "Sorry, you weigh too much to come in here. You'll have to use our website."
I'm Not Fat, I'm Big Boneded
"A&F, the label of choice for vapid douchebags well before 2006."
I thought Ed Hardy was the current label of choice for vapid douchebags.
Or has another brand conquered that extremely free-spending demographic?
I actually saw someone wearing a Von Dutch hat the other day. Those went out in 2003.
I could MAYBE understand someone like Tom Ford saying this (who actually is attractive and slim himself, and whose line caters to an exclusively upscale market), but to have someone say this who is himself dowdy and unattractive and (worst of all) who sells mass items to the masses in shopping centers--that's just ridiculous.
That was a hilarious airline lawsuit at the link at r74.
Well, at least the guy is gay and out. Not everyone is the best role model.
Miss Jeffries is a walking counterargument to the concept of "It Gets Better."
I doubt Betsey Johnson or Armani makes size 22.
Fat people are repulsive.
K. Lagerfeld, thin
Once all his plastic surgery begins to sag and bag he'll be begging stores to carry plus sizes. He looks like a freakin' monster.
I thought the point was to make people think they could be thin and beautiful if they wore your clothes.
Campaign Mocks A&F CEO by Donating Brand's Clothes to Homeless [VIDEO]
So, I couldn't go in with a skinny friend? Whatever. I don't think it will effect the sales figures.
If you have ANY A&F Clothing, please donate it to the nearest homeless people you can find.
Lets' change the "image" of A&F to be the new "clothing of the homeless"....
The brand was white hot in 2003 - and not just by appealing to older teenage boys. Lots of guys and girls right out of college wore their stuff in and around Manhattan.
But let's face it - they are primarily known for cargo shorts, hoodies, and sorbet colored tees with that big stupid logo on it. The stuff is laughably out of date now. As is this guy's attitude.
As for it being a popular brand in the UK, that hardly matters in the end. If it is flailing in the US it is flailing in general.
Jeffries apologizes for "cool kids" comment...
calls his brand an "aspirational" one.
pffftt I can't believe people still shop there! I would be seriously embarassed to be seen wearing that shit.
Fashion designers have been doing this forever. You will not find a true designer piece in a retail oulet in larger than a size 10.
If you are one of the very few huge bucks hefty women you can have the designers make what you want in your size, but none of the biggies want to see their clothes on someone unattractive.
Versace is one thing R93. Abercrombie is something entirely different. It's retail clothes. Nothing special or unique. If the fine folks at Prada told the big gals to keep steppin', I'm okay with that. A&F was nothing more than Chess King for 00s or JCPenney with naked guy greeters at the front entrance.
I'm thinking he should ban old people from the brand, you know, like himself.
GAH! I've never seen him before. Hideous! Someone get an A&F Messenger bag over his head.
And I LOVE your idea, R89. Love it.
R40, A&F is the Sharper Image of clothing.
I think we should all teach him a lesson by taking the earliest opportunity to shit in all of his changing rooms.
The French love A&F, my company would gift it to their French clients and it was received like gold. You see French tourists carrying several shopping bags of it too. And to think it was once a old fashioned classic sportswear brand with golf and hunting clothes.
This has probably already been said, but he looks like that tumor/popcorn head orc in Lord of the Rings.
He sounds repellent and he also sounds like he's still in high school.
He's only saying what the truth is and nobody else would say it. He's an asshole, but this is all true.
Wasn't there a female designer that did/said the same thing several years ago. My memory was that she was even more blunt. Her response to the backlash was that she didn't give a damn if you were offended. If you were offended she didn't want you as a customer anyway. I think she said outright that labeling her brand as elitist and exclusive only helped her brand rather than hurt it. I seem to remember that when someone threatened a boycott, she shot back that one cannot boycott a brand that one cannot afford to buy in the first place.
Does anyone remember who this was?
R106, I was just told that the average woman in America now wears a size 16. If it's true, then it's totally shocking to me.
R107, with vanity sizing, it means the average is really size 20.
r107 it's actually 14. Not much less, but still....
[quote] But, would fat people really decrease the sales or the coolness of the brand?
Most brands seem to think so. Really "fashion forward" brands like Topshop/Topman don't often go any larger than L.
My BF is 6'6" and fit as hell, but few places carry the XL he needs to fit into.
If they do carry larger sizes, you have to order them online. All very "come in the back door" sort of stuff.
Bill Gates wasn't a "cool kid" in high school and neither were many successful and creative adults. To go against the standards of conformity and societal expectations takes inner strength and intelligence. I guess his doesn't want my money.
I can understand not wanting heavier people in your fashion, but to say only "cool kids" should be allowed in the store or to wear the clothes considering it's already a nightmare trying to fit in and social media making bullying that much easier, he's really an absolute douchebag.
LOL! These comments against A&F are a joke.
You mad bro?
I'm 58, but get confused for 19 all the time. I mean, all the time. And, that's because I work out 7 days a week, eat right, don't smoke or drink, and use Regenerist Advanced Wrinkle Repair, and Sublime Bronze fake tanner by Neutrogena. I'm an accountant full-time, but I work at Abercrombie & Fitch part-time on the weekends and maybe one or two nights a week if I need to fill-in for a bro who has take his girl out or something.
But, fo real yo, when I see some fat slob walkin' into A&F I immediately turn the blinders on and walk right past him or her like they don't even exist. Sometimes these heffers ask for help and I just ignore them. I wanna say, "Fuck off you fat, ugly asshole! You don't belong here. Take your sloppy ass down to Diesel or Eddie Bauer!" But, I know better 'n shit. Asshole probz complain or some shit like dat. Fuckin' loser.
So, I don't even make eye contact. I just go on about folding.
But, I gotz to be real, it infuriates me when I see some feminine fat slob flit about the store and then go on and try my pants with his stank, unwiped ass! "Look homie, A&F is made for masculine bros ages 16 to 85 okay? Take your ass to Cinnabon or Sally Field's Cookies or some shit like that."
I'm out. It's too nice out to worry about fatties.
Just ignore and they'll go to another store! Lawlz! I'll tell that one to my manager.
He looks like a giant Ken doll that has had its face melted.
You're too FAT! Leave! Get OUT!
Pass it on!
No one who is "cool" would be caught dead wearing Abercrombie anymore. It is the opposite of cool. He needs to spend less time fucking up his face and more time working on his brand.
Is he unaware of the fact that he's essentially the "hanger on" who tries to buy the cool kids' friendship? The one they'd laugh at behind his back.
What is it about ugly men wanting to control the way women HAVE to look? Is it to distract from their own physical ugliness? Their men's clothing accommodate fatties, the women's clothes apparently not.
How is this different from stores like Lane Bryant that only sell to fat people?
He makes that pig Tommy Hilfiger look good, which is really saying something.
JFC, the guy is a stone-cold psychopath, there's no use on trying to bring logic into his realm.
I like R21. But it is this guy's last ditch, desperate attempt to raise sales. It may backfire. He doesn't really care about sizes. Sizes of stocks, yes, but not people. Nice try, honey.
Let's be real here. A&F is a joke. It was popular years ago to teen boys and 20 somethings. It was a fad, like Hollister and Aeropostle.
But don't get it twisted. All couture and boutique and high-end department store designers design for upper middle class to wealthy white people, late 20s-mid 30s, slightly taller than average and with a thin build. Designers don't design for fat people and minorities (which includes the rank and file gays, and would probably prefer it if those groups never even touched their clothes.
[quote]It was a fad, like Hollister and Aeropostle.
EVERYTHING fashion-related is a fad.
In this economy, the motherfucker should be happy that anyone is even buying his overpriced clothes.
He can't afford to be picky.
It's funny that when I was in high school, A&F was by far considered to be more exclusive than American Eagle and "superior" in many respects. Now, I don't know anyone who still wears A&F, but I know many people who wont hesitate to pick up something basic at AE. In the long run AE will probably do better.
I wouldn't know the first thing about A&F.
It's strictly Walmart, Thrift Store and Target for me.
"Abercrombie and Fitch's stock prices tank amidst CEO's pin-headed 'plus-sized' PR faux-pas"
Apologies and a warning: Link is to Daily Mail and there's a picture of "him" that may have you sleeping with the lights on. Hideously ugly monster.
What the Fitch is Going on at Abercrombie?
Abercrombie & Fitch's first quarter results sharply missed already low expectations: Sales slipped 8.9% to $838.8 million and shares fell by almost 10% last week, trading at the bottom of the S&P 500. In its home market – the US, which accounts for more than 60% of total revenue – sales dropped by 17%. Luckily international sales increased by 10%, mostly coming from new store openings, to spare the company even more dramatic figures.
Due to a double-digit slump in same-store sales, the company issued a pretty cautious view for the remainder of the year. The company cited tighter inventory controls, the softness in the women's business as well as weakness in Europe as the official reasons for its significant shortfall and caution. Are those, however, the true source of worries at Abercrombie?
Already in recent quarters the company had been showing weaknesses. It seems that its fashion is more and more failing to resonate with teens and young adults. Or should we better say with "cool“ teens and with "cool“ young adults? Ever since its CEO Mike Jeffries made in a 2006 interview comments stating that he doesn't want "not so cool" kids wearing his company's clothes, Abercrombie has been in the public spotlight.
Besides a recently weaker assortment policy, the company's pseudo selective marketing strategy now seems to backfire. For the last few weeks the company has been (again) under severe attack as it is said to have offended customers with its "thin and beautiful" shopping policy. Abercrombie "succeeded" in a really "cool“ manner to withstand two weeks of high-profile backlash against its divisive sizing policies: it was accused of purposefully excluding plus-sized customers earlier this month ("plus" meaning for Abercrombie anything above women´s size "large“ and trousers size 10).
According to the market research company BrandIndex, as a result Abercrombie & Fitch skidded to its lowest perception with young people since October of last year. At the same time, both H&M and American Eagle – Abercrombie´s strongest competitor – have seen a small rise in their perception scores.
A&F, which prides itself on employing "good-looking people", obviously only wants "cool" people wearing its clothing. This is supported by a Salon interview from 2006, where its CEO explained:
...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... A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."
One might argue that Mr. Jeffries and his management team should better recall what Confucius already knew: “Everyone and everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
Obviously Jeffries is under the false illusion that (today's) teenagers are only cool if they are thin and beautiful. It's irritating that a high-profile business executive – someone who is supposed to act as a role model – tries to define beauty by wanting to squeeze young people into the smallest possible clothing sizes. Even worse, with such an attitude, Jeffries is obviously sabotaging diversity and social integration in a weird attempt to market Abercrombie, Hollister & Co. as what he thinks a selective brand is expected to be.
Jeffries seems to have forgotten that successful marketing is built foremost on the principle of "respect" for customers and that selective brand positioning does not mean offending people. As a reminder, what "respect" stands for as defined by the Oxford dictionary: "A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements."
c/o Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch Campus
6301 Fitch Path
New Albany, Ohio 43054
I know you've been flooded with mail regarding your comments on sizeism, but I wanted to take a second to write you about a project I've been working on.
As a preface: Your opinion isn't shocking; millions share the same sentiment. You've used your wealth and public platform to echo what many already say. However, it’s important you know that regardless of the numbers on your tax forms, your comments don't stop anyone from being who they are; the world is progressing in inclusive ways whether you deem it cool or not. The only thing you've done through your comments (about thin being beautiful and only offering XL and XXL in your stores for men) is reinforce the unoriginal concept that fat women are social failures, valueless, and undesirable. Your apology doesn't change this.
Well, actually, that's not all you have done. You have also created an incredible opportunity for social change.
Never in our culture do we see sexy photo shoots that pair short, fat, unconventional models with not short, not fat, professional models. To put it in your words: "unpopular kids" with "cool kids". It's socially acceptable for same to be paired with same, but never are contrasting bodies positively mixed in the world of advertisement. The juxtaposition of uncommonly paired bodies is visually jarring, and, even though I wish it didn’t, it causes viewers to feel uncomfortable. This is largely attributed to companies like yours that perpetuate the thought that fat women are not beautiful. This is inaccurate, but if someone were to look through your infamous catalog, they wouldn't believe me.
I've enclosed some images for your consideration. Please let me know what you think.
A note: I didn't take these pictures to show that the male model found me attractive, or that the photographer found me photogenic, or to prove that you're an ostentatious dick. Rather, I was inspired by the opportunity to show that I am secure in my skin and to flaunt this by using the controversial platform that you created. I challenge the separation of attractive and fat, and I assert that they are compatible regardless of what you believe. Not only do I know that I'm sexy, but I also have the confidence to pose nude in ways you don’t dare. You are more than welcome to prove me wrong by posing shirtless with a hot fat chick; it would thrill me to see such a shoot.
I'm sure you didn't intend for this to be the outcome, but in many ways you're kind of brilliant. Not only are you a marketing genius (brand exclusivity really is a profitable move) but you also accidentally created an opportunity to challenge our current social construct. My hope is that the combination of these contrasting bodies will someday be as ubiquitous as the socially accepted ideal.
Ever so sincerely,
P.S. If you would like to offer me a "substantial amount" to stop wearing your brand so my association won't "cause significant damage to your image", don't hesitate to email me. I respect you as a business man, and my agent and I would be happy to contribute in furthering your established success.
P.P.S. You should know your Large t-shirt comfortably fits a size 22. You might want to work on that.
Sorry Jes but those tattoos make you look trashy AND fat.
that stupid CEO should die in a grease fire.
I wandered into a Hollister a couple of years ago in a mall. The exterior was vaguely tropical and the interior very, very dark for a store.
I had to laugh when I saw the sizes. The largest men's pants were 32" waist, with the vast majority in the 28"-30" range.
I've also noticed that the more unusual styles of RL Polo shirts (i.e. anything other than the classic Polo with the small horse) are now sold only in "Custom Fit"--which are 1-2 sizes smaller than the label size, and are meant to be worn skin tight.
A&F isn't alone, it's just the only one stupid enough to admit they only want thin people in their clothes.
I have a bunch of their sweats, which I love. They're my favorite house cleaning gear.
I like the idea of what he's saying. Fat people are disgusting, and he just wants hot young men wearing his shit. And hot women to act as bait for them.
I had a friend who was an Abercrombie model who told me that after her shoot on Martha's Vineyard last year there was a full on Abercrombie orgy in the hotel. THAT I'd like to see!!