Abercrombie Anti-Plus-Size Controversy

Abercrombie Anti-Plus-Size Controversy

Updated May 15, 2013 at 07:13PM EDT by Brad.

Added May 09, 2013 at 06:52PM EDT by Brad.

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Overview

Mike Jeffries’s Anti-Plus-Size Controversy refers to various online backlashes surrounding the current CEO of American fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and his alleged advocacy of anti-plus-size policy in order to appeal to “thin and attractive” customers.

Background

On May 3rd, 2013, Business Insider published an article[1] titled “Abercrombie & Fitch Refuses To Make Clothes For Large Women,” which cited several quotes from retail industry analyst Robin Lewis accusing Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries of trying to exclude overweight customers from shopping at his stores. The article also went on to mention that Jeffries had previously stated in an interview with Salon in 2006 that the company was intentionally exlusionary and only wished to market to “cool kids.”



On Reddit

Then on May 7th, Redditor NJFiend submitted a link to the Salon interview article in a post titled “TIL The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch went on record as saying he does not want fat or unattractive people wearing his clothes or employed at his company,” receiving over 8,800 up votes and nearly 2,000 comments prior to being archived.



Notable Developments

Redditors were quick to point out Jeffries’ own lack of physical appeal, creating a slew of images insulting his looks and comparing him to actors like Gary Busey and Thomas Wilson in the process.





Local News Investigation

Meanwhile, ABC News visited Abercrombie’s flagship store in New York City to survey the distribution of available sizes and reported that most items on display were double-zeros and extra-smalls, with few large tops and size 10 pants. The report also confirmed that Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t carry extra large or extra-extra large for women.



Change.org Petition

On May 8th, Change.org member Benjamin O’Keefe submitted a petition demanding Jeffries to make clothes for all sizes available to the customers. The petition has received at least 2,480 pledges as of May 9th, 10:30 p.m. (ET).



#FitchTheHomeless

On May 13th, Los Angeles-based writer Greg Karper uploaded a YouTube video[12] in which he proposed a “brand readjustment” campaign to donate all Abercrombie & Fitch apparel to local homeless shelters in protest against the company’s controversial marketing strategy. The video (shown below), which shows Karper visiting a Goodwill store to purchase used Abercrombie clothes and handing them out to the needy in the Skid Row, immediately drew support from Reddit[13], Twitter[14] and elsewhere, racking up one million views in less than 48 hours. In the same time frame, the hashtag #FitchTheHomeless was retweeted more than 33,000 times.[15]



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