ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Working at Abercrombie and Fitch

Updated on July 26, 2012
A mild version of A&F's controversial ad campaigns
A mild version of A&F's controversial ad campaigns

Abercrombie & Fitch: Behind the Scenes

"You can't have ego," Mike Jefferies says, "Every day, we're afraid." As CEO of mega corporation Abercrombie and Fitch, Jefferies seemingly has nothing to worry about, and he also has one hell of an ego.

At 61 years old, Jefferies still clings to a youthful appearance with enough plastic surgery to warrant suspicion. He boasts that his company is not for the fat or the ugly; he’s built a brand obsessed with only what is sexy. And while this approach has landed him in court more than a few times, not much seems to change. As a former long-time employee of A&F I know best just how the company really operates.

Every week the secret shoppers come and so do the District Mangers, both with a vendetta to pick apart not only the quality of the store management but also the appearance of the employees. Samantha* had been at A&F longer than I, she knew the ins and outs, could fold tops into perfect stacks with her eyes closed. A sweet girl, she has full brown hair and a charming smile; only the ‘judge’ for A&F didn’t happen to think so. Samantha found herself in tears, forced to look at the stores weekly review tagged up in the back, in which she had been marked as unattractive.

With certain managers the flow of new employees will change, for example whenever a pig-headed male runs the store, lots of good looking but rather incapable college girls are added to the team. The interview process is something like a beauty contest, with the best looking being chosen over the best qualified. After spending countless hours in the dimly lit, highly perfumed, and music-pulsing store I see why. One dear friend of mine couldn’t use the cash registers in fear of counting change wrong yet she was offered a promotion over Christmas due to her good looks.

At A&F one must be ‘naturally’ pretty, makeup is discouraged as is wearing the color black or painting your nails. The company encourages staff to wear their clothes by offering 30% discount on all merchandise and making it so every other brand has some sort of ‘look policy’ sanction attached. Employee of four years, Jim*, was sporting True Religion Jeans at work one day when a manager approached him, rolled her eyes, crossed her arms, and smugly said, “Are you really wearing those in my store? Never again.” She nodded her head and stormed away. Working at A&F the urge to buy is persistent, and at minimum wage the sum of your paycheck hardly covers the cost of your work wardrobe.There are two job positions at A&F; one is working with costumers on the floor and the other is hidden in back, folding, organizing, and auditing clothes. During one of A&F’s many lawsuits they were accused of racial and gender discrimination that resulted in the creation of diversity requirements and training. Many argue that in order to get around this A&F stuffs those they are ‘forced’ to hire in the back room where costumers will not see the opposite of the A&F image.

Without a doubt the store does this. Although many gorgeous individuals want to work in back as opposed to on the floor, larger or less attractive candidates are not given the option, they are actually told upon hire that they will work in the back. Danny* is on the shorter side and far from an A&F poster boy, yet back in 2009 he wanted the chance to work out on the floor. He asked countless times, argued his cause, but was told over and over that the store didn’t have enough hours for ‘models’ and so switching positions wouldn’t make sense. Unfortunately, Danny was hurt because he was far from dumb; he saw the handful of new model hires, all getting the hours sworn to not exist. Having been with the company for nearly two years he was more than qualified for the position, his looks were the only thing in his way. Although Danny didn’t, others have legally fought back. Rainbow/Push, led by Jesse Jackson, drug A&F into court resulting in a $40 million dollar settlement. Many examples pleaded Rainbow’s case for discriminatory actions such as a shirt briefly produced by the brand, which read: “Wong Brothers Laundry Service—Two Wongs Can Make it White.” MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers) has also publicly bashed the clothing company, calling their catalogs out as a campaign for teen drinking and risky behavior. Yet, although Jefferies once ripped the controversial catalogue off of shelves, the new print was redistributed like a fresh slap to the face, bearing all of the same morals and messages only in a slightly less direct manner. Culture annalists say that the relaxed stance in which Abercrombie portrays sex is a reflection of our societies current day morals as well as a push to further normalize what was once sacred and private.

The store is run like a catty clique, unless instantly addressed as a favorite by managers, one has a high chance of being given the worst tasks, the least hours, and the smallest leniency. Although popular part timers are never as permanent as they think, soon as new managers come in oldies are filtered out for newbies. The store likes to keep a constant flow of new employees coming in and out. Perhaps because new workers must buy new clothes and therefore hike up A&F’s recently low sales. The company claims something different, they site the diversity of every-changing faces as a good thing for whatever reason. A&F is a store high in drama yet getting lower and lower in popularity. Although known for their great full-time benefits, they hardly care for their employee’s day-to-day quality of life. One manager was forced to give up coffee because she simply couldn’t afford it anymore, despite the fact she worked six days a week and often over-time. And for us part timers? We were folding clothes, loading dressing rooms, and conducting audits for nickels and dimes. All the while Jefferies was flying high in his private jet, and when he did come to San Diego’s main store panic ensued as managers spent hours deciding which store employees were best looking, and would therefore be ‘borrowed’ into the main store for the day of his visit. Once again proving the importance of looks over capability in the world of Abercrombie. The store doesn’t so much care if you are rude or unable to help costumers, in fact you are more likely to be fired or sent home for a look violation.

In the back room, above the computer and phone is a shelf that holds a row of white binders; one of which holds Polaroids of all current store employees. These snap shots are flipped through by mangers as new hirers and fires are being debated. Just like A&F merchandise, haphazardly sewn together in sweatshops, the employees are judged on appearance instead of quality.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      If you think that this is in any way worse than any other retail position, you should really examine yourself. I know people at my current workplace that have been there for 5 years that don't even make the poverty line yet ($17,000) and almost %60 of the employees in our store are on food stamps.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      not everything about working here is negative, and definitely should not be looked at in this way. Working for A&F is easily the best job I've ever had. Easy-going work atmosphere and always fun people to be around. The work is easy. The True Religion jeans situation is understandable. If you were told to go to work looking business casual and show up in your old prom dress you would get the same skeptical look as was described here. Quit making it seem like a hell hole when in actuality it does a lot for the community.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      while some of this may be true i think it is a little over dramatized... idk maybe my store is just a good one but i get like 3-5 days a week as a floor model and i don't consider myself the most attractive person there .. im not cast of so my DM doesn't think so either...People just seem to love hating on the way Fitch does business

    • webcastguru profile image

      Bud Fields 

      5 years ago from Columbia, Tennessee

      Followed the link, and found the answer to my question. Interesting hub. Thanks for writing it. You know, when I next visit A&F (next lifetime), I'll keep this informative hub in mind. Thank you for writing it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)