Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries has raised eyebrows by allegedly saying that his popular clothing brand, essentially, does not cater to fat people.
Speaking with Business Insider, Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, claimed that Jeffries “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store.”
“He only wants thin and beautiful people,” he said. 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.'”
A rep for the company did not immediately respond for comment, but Lewis’ supposed interpretation of the A&F philosophy has gotten a lot of pick-up.
What “cool kids” might Lewis be referring to? Not fat kids, that’s for sure.
Business Insider pointed to a previous interview Jeffries gave to Salon.
“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,” the clothing CEO explained.
“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. The 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.”
Jeffries’ quotes certainly shed light on Abercrombie & Fitch ads, which are frequently risque and tend to feature extremely thin, attractive models.
Yet it’s not clear how much Lewis’ comments reflect his own interpretation of A&F and how much they accurately reflected the brand’s actual approach.
It that is any sort of official company position, though, it’s clearly going to alienate a lot of people in the U.S. … but then again, does he really care?
The cool kids will probably still shop there.