Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, reportedly hates fat customers and only wants “thin and beautiful people” to shop in his stores, according to a new report.
Robin Lewis of the Robin Report told Business Insider that Abercrombie stores purposely don’t carry size XL or plus-sizes, because it's against the corporate image Jeffries is striving to maintain.
"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.'"
Abercrombie does offer sizes XL and XXL for men’s clothing, but those items only to appeal to “beefy football players and wrestlers,” Lewis said. On the size chart for women’s clothing on the Abercrombie website, sizes only go up to large, or a size 10.
Lewis said this strategy to omit larger sizes is to help ensure the “cool kids,” which Jeffries does not consider to include overweight women, shop in Abercrombie stores.
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This has always been how Jeffries has felt about Abercrombie & Fitch. In 2006, the CEO told Salon that the stores purposely keep its customer base narrow to ensure its branding strategy.
“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. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."
He continued, "Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
Despite many statistics pointing to America’s expanding waistline, Lewis said that Jeffries will likely not include larger sizes.
"Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they're about to jump on a surfboard," Lewis said.
However, one pair of washboard abs Abercrombie does not want to clothe is that of the “Jersey Shore” cast. In 2011, the company said it would prefer that cast member Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino not don the A&F label, which many believe was merely a publicity stunt.
The brand did try to include the LGBTQ community into its “cool kids” gang, though. Last year, Abercrombie & Fitch released a steamy ad campaign featuring shirtless men wrestling, showering together and kissing.