May 27, 2013 @ 4:01 pm (Updated: 6:24 pm – 5/27/13 )
When you’re the CEO of major fashion brand you can be as elitist as you want to be.
You may admit, “Candidly, we go after the cool kids” and “a lot of people don’t belong in our clothes.”
Even if you make these comments about six years ago to a magazine reporter, that’s fine.
But the Internet never forgets, and you will have to answer to consumers and shareholders.
Abercrombie and Fitch’s first-quarter sales fell by 17 percent and their stock dropped 8 percent before the Memorial Day holiday.
PR people spent the weekend apologizing for the CEO Mike Jeffries.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” Jeffries said in a 2006 Salon article.
“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,” he said. “Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
Those comments re-emerged in a Business Insider blog post explaining how Abercrombie and Fitch ended up in the cross-hairs of equality and anti-bullying groups.
A Change.org petition calls on Abercrombie and Fitch to “stop telling teens they aren’t beautiful; make clothes for teens of all sizes.
“As a young adult who suffered from an eating disorder, through much of middle and high school, I remember looking at the ads for Abercrombie & Fitch or combing the racks and not seeing anything that fit me. As silly as it seems, as a kid, it made me feel worthless to not be able to wear the “it” styling that everyone else was wearing,” says Ben O’Keefe, who started the petition.
“Mr. Jeffries owes young people an apology, because contrary to what he may believe, whether you can fit into Abercrombie or not, you are beautiful,” he says.
About 73,000 have added their names to the petition that asks Abercrombie and Fitch to begin offering XL and XXL sizes for women and men.
The largest size of women’s pants they carry is a 10.
“I don’t know why they think they’re better than anyone else,” says Kelsie, a teen shopper at Alderwood Mall. “Their store is always empty.”
By LINDA THOMAS