By MELISSA WELLHAM
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
So said Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries back in 2006, in an interview with Salon.
It seems impossible that he could not have predicted what would be unleashed – at least eventually – with such a statement. Maybe times were different then. Maybe people were only starting to get onto the ‘body positive’ bandwagon. But that was then – and this is now.
Unfortunately for Jeffries, his comments from 2006 ignited controversy recently when a magazine called Business Insider mentioned them in an interview with Robin Lewis, author of The New Rues of Retail.
Lewis did not hold back in describing the company.
She said, “[Jeffries] doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people… He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”
And then what happened?