There’s a petition on Change.org demanding the store stock larger sizes (only 75 people have signed it). Teenage critics protested outside a Chicago Abercrombie and Fitch store earlier this week. And in a viral video campaign, "#FitchTheHomeless," filmmaker Greg Karber is trying to "re-brand" the company by giving its clothes to homeless people. I really like the "Karberizing" of the brand as a form of punishment.
By now Jeffries’ 2006 Salon interview, resurfacing since ABC News ran a piece showing the company sells mainly size 00, is cemented in the annals of marketing history; a monument to how long a bad remark can remain potent thanks to the computer and online memory.
He told Salon in 2006: “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…. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
As a result of his remarks Jeffries is being momentarily schooled on how it feels to be unpopular. I hope he’s also learning that size only matters when it comes to mistakes.
However, I wonder if this lesson will stick. While under his direction, the brand has been a constant source of courtroom and news fodder for its discriminatory in-store “look” policy, but it has also won praise from the LGBT community for “inclusion hiring policies.”
The Human Rights Campaign lists Abercrombie & Fitch at the top of its 2012 Corporate Equality Index.
In response to the ranking, the company's senior vice president of diversity and inclusion is quoted by HRC saying:
“Through A&F's corporate values and sound diversity strategy, we remain committed to a focused and funded initiative that supports all of our associates including the LGBT community."