Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble after his “cool kids” comment resurfaced on the Internet this spring. Now the 68-year-old California native is under fire, or at least getting some strange looks, for condemning the use of the color black in Abercrombie clothing.
Apparently the color has been banned from the store and employees from wearing it to work because Jeffries “hates” it, Business Insider wrote on Monday. "Management will tell people that Mike hates the color, and so we're not supposed to wear it to work," an anonymous employee told the site. "It even applies to coats in the winter."
When reached for comment about the bizarre rule, Abercrombie responded to Business Insider with the following statement: "Abercrombie & Fitch does not sell black clothing and discourages wearing it at our home office and in our stores, because we are a casual lifestyle brand and feel black clothing is formal. We have nothing against black clothing and feel it is perfectly appropriate for things like tuxedos."
The strange ban on black solely applies to Abercrombie, with its competitors offering a plethora of black options. Jeffries’ choice to prohibit the color has gotten the chain charged with discrimination, again, after a Muslim teenager said she was not hired at Abercrombie because she wore a black headscarf to her interview, the Daily Mail wrote.
Jeffries made the inflammatory comments regarding his belief of what is “traditional” beauty in a 2006 interview with Salon: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," he said.
“Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends.” He added, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”