The Abercrombie and Fitch ‘fat clothes’ controversy has not yet vanished. Earlier this month, the brand’s CEO, Mike Jeffries stirred a massive controversy while he tried to explain why the brand doesn’t sell clothes larger than size 10. In an interview given in 2006, her made a series of insensitive remarks while attempting to explain the position.
Presumably without thinking too much about the ramifications of his statement, he implied that people above size 10 are somehow inferior to others: “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,” he stated.
What should have been a statement about avoiding brand dilution was perceived as an attack, despite the fact that the CEO apologized on Abercrombie & Fitch’s official Facebook page. The apology “I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense. We are completely opposed to any discrimination, bullying, derogatory characterizations or other anti-social behavior based on race, gender, body type or other individual characteristics”, was viewed as halfhearted and insincere.
It seems that the Abercrombie & Fitch controversy is not yet a closed chapter and signs seem to point out the to fact it will mostly likely continue for quite some time. Shoppers have decided to use to power to vote with their dollars and that was definitely reflected in the brand’s sales for the first quarter of the year. The company reported that the U.S. sales fell 17 percent. Though the CEO cites inventory shortages as the main cause for the decline in sales, further decreases in sales are expected to follow.
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