Designers + Brands Abercrombie and Fitch Fat Chicks

Published on May 13th, 2013 | by Becky Striepe

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Abercrombie & Fitch Won’t Hire “Fat Chicks”

Abercrombie & Fitch: "No Fat Chicks"

…and they don’t make clothes for plus sized women, either.

Furious? So am I!

As if making their clothing in sweatshops wasn’t enough, Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries publicly stated that the company doesn’t want plus sized women shopping in his stores. After reading some of his remarks, I don’t think any women should shop there.

Elite Daily highlighted an article about Jeffries on Business Insider, where they reveal that his company doesn’t produce sizes XL or XXL or pant sizes above a 10, because he doesn’t want “fat chicks” shopping in his stores. He says he wants “the cool kids” at his store, and this is also the reason that they only hire good-looking people.  In Jeffries’s mind, you can’t be cool unless you are thin and conventionally attractive. Here’s a quote from a 2006 interview that I think sums up how gross this guy is:

That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.

Doesn’t that hiring policy sound just a smidge illegal, to boot?

What’s really interesting is that Abercrombie’s website has a whole page about how they embrace diversity. How do they square that message with their choice to discriminate based on size and physical appearance both in their production and hiring practices?

As someone who has struggled with body image issues in the past, I know how remarks like the ones Jeffries made can sting, even if you’re not plus size. Those comments are mean, and they’re also so damaging for young girls who are just figuring out what makes them valuable. I hate that companies like Abercrombie make women feel like we aren’t worth anything if we’re not a size 6.

As consumers, though, we have the power to send a strong message to Mike Jeffries by hitting his company where it hurts: the wallet.

Ditch the Fitch!

The best way to tell Abercrombie to quit the fat-shaming is by refusing to spend your money there.

Luckily, there are lots of clothing companies out there that embrace women of all shapes and sizes. H&M has a plus line that includes XL, XXL, and pants sizes up to a 24. And unlike Abercrombie, H&M is making some big progress on the sustainable fashion front.

You can also skip the new clothes all together! Big box clothing has more problems than how these companies’ marketing tactics affect young women. There’s a cycle of waste associated with fast fashion, and for an ethical fashionista, buying heirloom pieces or shopping vintage are much better options.

What do you think about Jeffries’s remarks? Did you shop at Abercrombie & Fitch before? Would you continue to shop there after learning about these company policies?

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by laverrue


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About the Author

Hi there! I'm Becky Striepe, a green crafter and vegan foodie living in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband and two cats. My mission is to make eco-friendly crafts and vegan food accessible to anyone who wants to give them a go. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • MArk

    Please, drop the political correctness. Business should be free to sell what they want to whom they want and let the market place decide. BMW does not sell cars to poor people. They do not advertise on Spanish television in the US. Why? That is NOT their market. And you make a living writing crap like this?

  • Chris Weiss

    Re the whole Abercrombie & Fitch thing, you say “doesn’t that hiring policy sound just a smidge illegal?”

    Well, maybe you should talk to (just to name a few) Tiffany, Nordstrom, Hooters, every casino in Vegas, and virtually every television station anchor desk across the country. You might be surprised to learn that outside the narcissistic pod you’re living in, the world and its people are a pretty diverse lot. Some have opinions and attitudes, and some of those opinions and attitudes may not cleave unto your vision of what constitutes ideologically correct, social aesthetic purity.

    Good luck finding “obese” or “ugly” or whatever quality you find personally important to your own definition of “leave me and my kind the fuck alone and let us do what we want” in the Federal lexicon of what constitutes legal discrimination. Abercrombie & Fitch is a business, its operating to its vision, its reasonably successful, and you don’t like it. Fine. Empower that inner (or outer, I don’t know) “fat chick” (ironically, your term, not A&F’s) and boycott the place. Maybe break them and put all those “good looking people” out on the street on their stone-washed, hyper-heroin-chic asses. But I’d like to know how that response is any less intolerant that what you think they are doing. You hipster granola-eaters are never content with simply noting a relative social deviance from your self-defined enlightened ways. No, you have to totally fuck the target of your disaffection into oblivion. Must be a repressed response to your parents divorce when you were a little kid or something. All I know is it’s a waste of time and energy, and it does nothing to make the world more tolerant or tolerable. But hey, rather than curse the dark, light a blowtorch I guess.

  • Andy

    I agree with the previous posts. I think A&F should be able to market to whom they want. The only thing that stings is that they are up front about it, which you have to respect. For example, i’ve said for years that Spandex should only come in certain sizes. At a certain level I see it as a company being a responsible member of society. Speedos don’t come in my size, and I think the world is a better place because of it.

  • http://glueandglitter.com/main Becky Striepe

    Interesting points, everyone, and I especially appreciate the folks who managed to make one without resorting to profanity and name-calling.

    I agree – they are free to hire and market to whoever they want. I am also free to share the CEO’s remarks and voice my opinion about them, and shoppers who would rather not give that man their money are free to skip shopping at A&F. Hurrah for freedom!

  • http://www.inspiredeconomist.com Scott

    Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but the fellows who’ve written in here do not represent most men nowadays (or, I guess, I hope they don’t). The time is far past where we should be blindly tolerant of marketing campaigns that make people feel bad about themselves in order to increase sales–whatever form that takes. It definitely makes me think less of A&F, and their CEO might not understand just how easily that type of word-of-mouth marketing spreads. And, if he doesn’t, I’d be worried about A&F’s financial performance. It’s very hard to recover a damaged reputation and legions of people you’ve cast aside as socially unacceptable.

    And by the way, Kudos to you Becky, for handling angry comments from angry and at least somewhat sexist dudes. You have true integrity and much greater tolerance and patience than I would have in your shoes.

  • Andy

    Oh. Cry me a river. I can’t believe people are surprised, or even offended, that a brand actively targets certain customers and not others, and they will embrace their core even when it offends the others. That’s basic marketing. I’ve seen plenty of ads for “full figured” clothing that picks on “skinny girls” and that state that large girls are “more real” than the fake skinny girls. Should we picket them? Or maybe boycott? I respect A&F even though I never bought a single thing from them. Embrace who you are. Make no excuses. Be authentic to the brand and forget everyone else. This world has become way too sensitive and politically correct. Your only mad because he said it out loud. I’m sure LuLu Lemon made a strategic decision to not make size 20. Im sure the fabric will stretch. Should we picket them too. And by the way, these comments were made by the CEO like ten years ago so there’s that.

  • http://www.smiletvgroup.com Smile TV

    Jeffries doesn’t realize that Healthy is the New Skinny!

    http://www.smiletvgroup.com/2013/05/healthy-skinny/

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