Abercrombie doesn't sell XL or XXL sizes for large women, despite offering them for men. It also doesn't offer above a size 10 in women's pants. CEO Mike Jeffries "doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people," retail analyst Robin Lewis told Business Insider.
After Business Insider's coverage highlighted the brand's exclusion of this group, the company faced a storm of public backlash.
Prior to a legal settlement, Abercrombie was allegedly hiring predominantly from white sororities and fraternities.
Abercrombie and Fitch has faced a number of lawsuits over discriminatory hiring practices — including recruiting at predominately white sorority and fraternity houses.
In 2004, Eduardo Gonzalez, a lead plaintiff, said he was urged to apply for an overnight stock position and that the store manager favored two white applicants in a group interview. The company settled and said it would change its recruitment practices.
Abercrombie managers reportedly made an employee with a prosthetic limb work in the stockroom.
But the lawsuits for Abercrombie do not end at the interview process. The teen retailer was also accused of shifting mostly non-white employees and those who were less attractive to the stock room, away from customers.
Then, in 2009, the company was rocked by a lawsuit in the U.K. when managers allegedly forced a 22 year-old employee with a prosthetic arm off the selling floor.
Instead of calling employees store associates or cashiers, like most retailers do, Abercrombie calls them models.
Most of the company's employees are not actual models, but teenagers ringing up jeans at a register or opening fitting rooms.
Even so, Abercrombie refers to employees who work in front of customers as "models." The teen retailer used to call them brand representatives, but made the switch in the 2000s. Those sent to the back to unload shipments and restock the front are called Impact Team members.
Abercrombie CEO Michael Jeffries said he only wants good-looking people wearing his clothing.
In a 2006 interview with Salon, Jeffries himself said that his business was built around sex appeal.
“It’s almost everything. That’s why 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,” Jeffries said.
Abercrombie made a t-shirt insulting America's Sweetheart, Taylor Swift.
The t-shirt read "more boyfriends than t.s.," a reference to Swift's turbulent love life. Abercrombie pulled the shirt after the country singer's ardent fans inundated the retailer with threats and complaints.
The stores smell like cologne, inside and out.
Abercrombie also pumps its stores with its men's cologne: Fierce. Front of store employees generally walk the floor every few hours and spray the fragrance. In 2010, Teens Turning Green, a student group fighting to rid toxic chemicals from the environment, protested outside the company's flagship store on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue.
The t-shirts relied on a number of Asian stereotypes to drive sales, including slanted eyes and cone shaped hats. "Since some customers have been offended by their content, we are pulling these shirts from our stores. . . . They'll be off the Web site as well," a company spokesman told The San Francisco Chronicle at the time.
Abercrombie opened a kid's clothing store on one of the classiest fashion streets in the world.
Abercrombie & Fitch angered other retailers after it announced plans to open a children's clothing store on London's Saville Row.
The street, in central London, is famous for its bespoke tailoring and three-piece suits that ended up on giants like Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire. In an op-ed in the Guardian, Gustav Temple wrote, "This is not the place for T-shirts and cargo pants."
Abercrombie's kids stores sold bathing suits that were too sexy for some people.
Abercrombie & Fitch also came under fire for some of the goods it produced for its abercrombie kids line.
Abercrombie's Facebook community doesn't "understand Abercrombie's styling" and think the brand "is straying from their original design roots," Eric Beder, an analyst at Brean Murray Carret & Co., said in a note to clients.