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

FILED UNDER: Fashion , Shopping
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Showing 548 comments

susan on

They have the ugliest, cheap, wrinkled looking clothes. Why would you want to wear them?!

LuluAZ on

Thanks for the info….my daughter is right at the age where she would want to shop there ….it’s not happening now! I have to say that several of the t-shirts I’ve seen other kids wear appear as if they just got iron-on letters and made them at home (at least the ones without the moose!)

Rebecca on

Abercrombie is out of date anyways so who cares who they want to target. This is 2013, Abercrombie was popular like 10 YEARS ago.

heather on

I am all for companies doing what they want and marketing anyway they want, that’s the right of every business owner but the reality is the CEO has offended people, not just fat/obese people. THEY ARE NOT PROMOTING A “HEALTHY LIFESTYLE” as stated by Jennifer below, they are promoting hate for people who don’t have washboard abs or who don’t fit in with their belief of the perfect person.

john on

I’m a double XL and proud of it and love Old Navy and WalMart. I ain’t got time for labels!

nan cook on

Daughter of a xx large momma! I love and know the challenge of finding that size, i alo know from my daughter the heck of finding a 00, so ifeel for both sides of this issue

Joyce on

Rich people and high end stores won’t admit the majority of the people are a size 10 or larger. Guess A/F only want trophey wives and skinny b**ch mistresses in their stores !!!

kksox on

Jennifer, A&F is not promoting healthy lifestyle, I mean look at the pic with this story. Though I am not a fan of “The Situation”, his body is rock hard. They are promoting beautiful people. I am a size 14, I work out, I am very athletic. I have never purchased A&F clothes because they run extremely small and are outrageously expensive. Lane Bryant caters to larger sized women that cannot walk into A&F or other big name stores and find their size! There is a difference in promoting health and promoting ridiculousness. Beauty comes from within, who makes A&F think they can define what beauty is???????????

Ashley on

I won’t shop there. Not just because of their ridiculous, exclusionary views, but also because the clothes are over-priced & are of poor quality. I don’t mind paying a premium if I feel I’m getting my money’s worth. I won’t, however pay big bucks for a name slapped on a mediocre product.

Rae on

My daughter is a size 0 at any other store yet at AF and Hollister she has to buy a size 5. So is there size 10 really a true ten? According to their website the waist size for a size 0 is 24-25 inch waist. While other stores a size 0 is 27-28 inch waist. The difference is uncalled for and just feeds into teenage insecurities. I am proud that my daughter has made the decision to no longer shop there even though she fits the so called “profile” of who the CEO wants shopping there. Well you just lost one and if she has her way you will lose all her friends too!! I love the differences in all kids and it does not make you less “cool” if you can’t wear clothes from a company run by jackasses!

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