Abercrombie & Fitch Moves Forward With Plus-Sized Women's Wear
CEO Mike Jeffries said Abercrombie said the brand targeted only 'cool, good looking people' to shop in their stores
Abercrombie & Fitch has been weathering a PR nightmare since company CEO Mike Jeffries' controversial comments about the type of people he wants in the brand’s clothing were brought back into the spotlight this spring. One damage control measure Abercrombie seems poised to go through with is offering plus-sized options in some of its women’s clothing through its online store.
A&F To Offer Plus-Sizes
Currently, Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t carry anything over a size 10 for women – in stores or online. It remains to be made public what sizes Abercrombie plans to offer. It’s also unknown as of yet when the plus sizes will become available for purchase. Customers, however, are happy to hear that plus-sizes will eventually be available.
"It's good to have some change," A&F customer Isaiah Castillo told CNN. "It will definitely attract more customers. You will have a variety of people."
"I think it's a good idea they are doing that," a British female customer added. "Half of the clothes are too small for me. It's stupid."
Mike Jeffries Talks 'Cool, Good Looking People'
Back in 2006, Jeffries won the ire of many when he openly admitted that under his guidance Abercrombie & Fitch solely sought after "cool, good-looking" customers. “We want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't market to anyone other than that,” Jeffries told Salon. “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.”
The infamous interview came back to haunt Jeffries in May of this year when retail industry analyst Robin Lewis broke down Jeffries’ exclusionary branding philosophy. “[Jeffries] doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis told Business Insider. “[He] doesn't want his core customers to see people who aren't as hot as them wearing his clothing.”
Abercrombie & Fitch Apologizes
Following the resurgent backlash, Jeffries offered an unapologetic apology of sorts in which he blamed both context and the aspirational nature of Abercrombie & Fitch. Sensing the imminent fallout, the company itself released a statement in which it pledged to take the dialogue surrounding Jeffries’ comments to heart.
“We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion,” read the statement. “We want to reiterate that we sincerely regret and apologize for any offense caused by comments we have made in the past which are contrary to these values.”
From a financial standpoint, Abercrombie & Fitch likely needs their attempts at rebranding to work. The company’s stock is down over 25% for this year, with sales declining in each of the last seven quarters.
– Chelsea Regan
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