13 Reasons Why People Hate Abercrombie & Fitch
Things aren't looking good for Abercrombie & Fitch.
reported that sales are down 10%, and outlook for the future isn't great either.
Abercrombie has faced a stream of controversies that have eroded public perception of the brand.
exclusion of large women
resulted in protests earlier this year. Abercrombie has also upset everyone from Taylor Swift fans to family groups to environmentalists.
We revisited some of the retailer's worst moments.
Eric Platt wrote the original version of this list. Advertisement
Abercrombie doesn't sell clothes for large women.
Abercrombie doesn't sell clothes for large women.
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.
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. Advertisement Abercrombie managers reportedly made an employee with a prosthetic limb work in the stockroom.
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.
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. Advertisement Abercrombie CEO Michael Jeffries said he only wants good-looking people wearing his clothing.
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.
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. Advertisement The stores smell like cologne, inside and out.
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.
A former employee claimed on Reddit that
stores were spritzed every hour. The company marks up its clothing by 65% overseas.
The company marks up its clothing by 65% overseas.
Abercrombie has struggled recently to shore up its U.S. business, relying instead on international growth to fuel revenue.
The company has
marked the same goods sold in its U.S. stores up more than 65% in Europe. But the global slowdown has crimped its expansion, with Abercrombie cutting Hollister's expansion plans by 25% this year. Advertisement The company's ads have been called soft porn by some family groups.
The company's ads have been called soft porn by some family groups.
Bruce Weber, the famed photographer behind Abercrombie's iconic black and white photos, also produced the company's now defunct quarterly magazine, which was called soft core porn by many groups.
National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families and Focus on the Family both launched boycotts of the company, before Abercrombie discontinued it in 2003. Abercrombie sold shirts that offended customers.
Abercrombie sold shirts that offended customers.
Abercrombie & Fitch
recalled a number of men's t-shirts after Asian American groups boycotted the company.
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.
Advertisement Abercrombie opened a kid's clothing store on one of the classiest fashion streets in the world.
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'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.
Targeted to girls aged 8 to 14, the company quickly retitled them "triangle bikinis"
before pulling them from its website and stores. Advertisement Abercrombie is trying to be hipster, but customers are confused.
Abercrombie is trying to be hipster, but customers are confused.
Following the success of Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie
tried to get on the eclectic bandwagon, but ended up alienating customers. 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. You've seen why people hate Abercrombie...
You've seen why people hate Abercrombie...