Backlash Against Abercrombie & Fitch's Anti-Plus Size Policies Reaches a Fever Pitch

05/15/2013 at 10:44 AM ET

The Situation AbercrombieSplash News Online

Back in 2011, when Abercrombie & Fitch offered to pay Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino to stop wearing their clothes so he wouldn’t tarnish the brand, it seemed like a funny, publicity-seeking joke. But as it turns out, it was actually a bigger part of the company’s retail strategy.

A recent book, The New Rules of Retail, draws attention to the company’s discriminatory clothing policies (specifically that they won’t carry sizes above a 10 or L) — which are in line with prejudiced hiring policies for which the company has come under fire before.

And in a 2006 Salon article, CEO Mike Jeffries defended the company. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he said in the interview. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids … A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Since that interview has picked up traction, Abercrombie & Fitch has been taking a beating in the press, facing customer boycotts — even in Hollywood. Kirstie Alley took on the store, telling Entertainment Tonight, “I’ve got two kids in that [age] bracket that will never walk in those doors because of his views on people.” A popular YouTube post shows a man giving out Abercrombie’s clothes to homeless people in an effort to “rebrand” the logo.

Abercrombie & Fitch hasn’t commented on the controversy, but there’s no shortage of people willing to discuss the situation and whether it leads to bullying. Tell us: What do you think of the store’s policies? What about the boycotts?

–Alex Apatoff

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guest on

I read another article where it stated the men’s sizes are larger to accommodate an athletic build in MEN. Apparently woman can’t be athletes.
Also, has anyone seen a picture of the CEO… it’s ironic that he says only cool people can wear A&F. It’s also weird that men’s sizes are larger and he is also, larger – probably to accommodate himself.
Say what you want about having smaller sizes to promote fitness but to have a size 00 and not a 12 or XL is not exactly promoting fitness…

wjhonson on

I would never wear A&F clothing. Everyone I’ve ever met in their clothes is egotistical, snobbish, empty-headed, self-centered. Let’s start with the CEO.

Smells Like Kardashian on

I have no thyroid so my size is more or less indicative of that. I need plus size. I don’t want to force any store to take my money but they just need to realize that I won’t support them neither…if my size should change, or if they change their mind about what they carry or if I am shopping for gifts. It’s okay.

Amy on

I don’t get why anyone bothers to give this man so much credit. People will shop there if they like the clothes obviously. You don’t like it, don’t shop there. Pretty simple really. Why allow him to make you feel bad about yourself. All retail stores cater to a specific market. What I find more troubling is how hypocritical this whole movement is. Giving these shirts to the homeless because they are uncool, essentially exploiting their situation.

C. Good on

Another for Jennifer…. I am a 5’11’ woman who is 160 lbs. I have a medium frame, so by your standards, I’m obese, even though I have a 28 inch waist. This isn’t even vaguely about a “healthy lifestyle”, this is about innate snobbery. So, a woman has to be petite and small boned (or the size of a child) to “qualify” to wear the brand? And you LIKE the fact that a company excludes people, just because they don’t fit the national average of size. I think Abercrombie deserves a very large boycott, they will change their tune when the profits start hitting the basement.

Amber on

And limiting their market segment in the process! As if they could possibly determine who will wear their clothes!

Sharese on

One person commented (Jennifer) that they are promoting people with healthy lifestyles. “The Situation” looks pretty fit and healthy to me. What’s the excuse now? Wanting everyone to fit an image or not accepting those who don’t is a mistake that has been made repeatedly throughout human history. Isn’t it time to change that?

Jasmine on

This is for people like Jennifer. You realize that there are those of us who are no where near obese but will never be a size 5. I’m healthily, active, and work out 5 days and do not have the ability to be a small size because of my body structure. So what am I suppose to be punished for what I can’t control? I can’t shrink my bones. I think your comment and the interview is ridiculous. Your views are a part of the bullying problem. I hate people like you. So full of judgment and evil. F you.

Elizabeth on

Marilyn Monroe was a size 12 and she was stunningly gorgeous!! and very Cool!! I think the idea that should be going out is find your beauty in any size and if a company does not want to carry it, guess what they loose not only my money, but I will not buy my kids clothes there either, and they are the cool kids, my kids have better taste and would never go with a company that would hurt an others feelings because of there size! and I am only a size 8-10 and I would never go there. Even one discrimination allowed will make it ok for all the rest.. and it is NEVER ok!!!

Siobhan on

I want to make my own shirt called Abercrombie is Sh*t

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