CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch Admits They Only Market After "Cool Kids"
"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."
These are the words of the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Jeffries. Although Jeffries said this in 2006, he was recently quoted in Business Insider.
After reading this comment, I was appalled... but not very surprised. Abercrombie & Fitch has always been the store it aimed to be: exclusive. Where I grew up, you shopped there if you had the money to. If you wore their clothing, you were thought of as financially well-off and one of the more popular kids. So yes, for me, Jeffries' goal for this store became an unfortunate reality.
As if that wasn't enough, Abercrombie & Fitch also refuses to make XL and XXL sizes because they don't want overweight people wearing their clothing.
Robin Lewis, CEO of newsletter The Robin Report, also isn't surprised that Jeffries doesn't want to market to certain people.
"He doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people," Lewis said. "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.'"
In a nation full of young people who are insecure about themselves and lack self-esteem, that comment is exactly what is going to get inside these vulnerable adolescents' heads and make them feel even worse about themselves.
In addition, for young people ages 15-24, suicide is the third leading cause of death, and some main factors include eating disorders and social rejection. I believe that Jeffries' comment has the ability to impact both, whereas adolescents may feel bad for not being able to fit into the sizes that Abercrombie & Fitch offers and may therefore be rejected by the "cool kids".
I personally don't shop at Abercrombie & Fitch mainly because their clothes run too small and too expensive. I suggest to anybody out there that they avoid shopping and/or working there. Managers are told to hire people whom they consider "beautiful" or "attractive" so the sales associates can lure more beautiful and attractive people into the store. It's a company secret that has been disclosed to the public, and the public isn't happy.
Now, there is a petition available for signing on Change.org that urges Jeffries to add bigger clothing and apologize for his comments.
"Mike Jeffries needs to understand that the statement he's making has a far larger impact than he might imagine," Benjamin O'Keefe, the creator of the petition, said. "It's not about profits here. We can't tell young people that they can't change the world because of the size of their waist."
To be frank, I have to give Jeffries a little credit because he was honest. In the world of business, you always want to make your company look good, so it's especially interesting that Jeffries decided to tell it how it is while knowing that he could lose a lot of buyers.
As of right now, Michael Jeffries has not commented on the matter. Who knows if he'll bother? It seems to me that he knows where he stands.
- Petition to CEO by Benjamin O'Keefe
"Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries: Stop telling teens they aren't beautiful; make clothes for teens of all sizes!"