When I'm in bed but don’t want to go to sleep, the one place I go to is Youtube. And the channel is Ellen’s.
Last night I stumbled across one of Ellen DeGeneres’s videos titled “Fitch, Please!” and decided to watch it. To my horror did I discovered that Abercrombie & Fitch are not selling “plus size” women’s clothing, and by “plus size” they mean anything over a size 10. And what is the reason for this you may ask? Because they don’t want ”larger” people shopping in their stores because they’re “not cool enough”. Abercrombie doesn’t even list women’s XL or XXL on its size chart.
Excuse my French, but… what da f**k?!
Ellen was clearly outraged by this, as am I, stating “Since when is something over a size 10 a plus size?”
Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail and CEO of newsletter The Robin Report, says it’s not surprising of A&F’s sizing choices based on the attitude of CEO Mike Jeffries.
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis told Business Insider. “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.’”
Why is this size rule only affecting female customers? The only reason Abercrombie offers XL and XXL men’s sizes is probably to appeal to beefy football players and wrestlers, Lewis said.
It seems Mr Jeffries is fearful of including larger sizes because he doesn’t want to attract clientele outside of society’s definition of beauty. The CEO told Salon in 2006, “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.”
Despite the risk of driving away potential customers into the arms of other brands such as H&M and American Eagle, both of which offer XXL sizes for men and women, an use models larger than size 12 in the ad campaigns, Mr Jeffries sees it merely as good branding.
“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.”
In a statement posted on the company’s Facebook page, Mr Jeffries stated that “While I believe this seven-year-old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context,” referring to the Salon quote, “I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense… Abercrombie & Fitch is an aspirational brand that, like most speciality apparel brands, targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers.” He also emphasized that A&F is “strongly committed to diversity and inclusion. We hire good people who share these values. We are completely opposed to any discrimination [or] bullying.”
According to these new sizing rules I am still allowed to shop at A&F but I just hope there isn’t a bouncer on the door checking people’ ID’s on how cool they are, cause if that’s the case I’m screwed. Actually, I haven’t shopped there since I was about 14, and its safe to say they have left one disloyal customer very unhappy.
I haven’t got a problem with them wanting to target a certain kind of “all-American” shopper. Lots of companies target specific audiences. it’s just the fact that they are branding other people as “uncool”. I think Ellen summed up my feelings pretty well… “What you look like on the outside is not what makes you cool at all!” I could not agree more.
Lots of love, Anna x