Abercrombie and Fitch Is Offering Something New That Might Surprise You

abercrombie and fitch ad

One of their infamous ads.

Since the spring of 2013, Abercrombie & Fitch has been in major trouble. After a Business Insider article came out and revealed the despicable body-shaming the company had been a part of, the brand has been suffering in a big way – and it looks like they’re finally going to attempt to change the way they do things in an effort to stay relevant. In short, they’ll be offering larger sizes to consumers. This is a huge improvement after what the company recently went through.

In case you need a refresher, here goes: this past May, I filled you guys in on the gross things Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries had been saying. Basically, he has never been interested in letting anyone who is over a size 10 shop in his stores. Jeffries said a few awful, body-shaming statements, like, “…we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t want to market to anyone other than that.” He also made it a point of stressing that he didn’t care that he was alienating a huge group of people shopping in his stores by saying, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes] and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Clearly, Jeffries thought that Abercrombie & Fitch was a strong enough brand that he could make statements like these without facing backlash. But he was so, so wrong. Once he was outed as a jerk who only cares about superficial things, like the size clothing people wear or what they look like, people got angry. They got so angry that they stopped shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch and sales plummeted. In the past year alone, Abercrombie’s shares lost about 30 percent of their value.

In an obvious attempt to win back customers, Abercrombie has made the decision to start offering sizes larger than a 10 and large (and if you’ve ever seen an A&F large, well… you know it’s not a legit large). This is really, really surprising, since Jeffries never once apologized for his comments, even when people were ripping the brand apart. Instead, he stated on the company Facebook page that, “A&F is an aspirational brand that, like most specialty apparel brands, targets it’s marketing at a particular segment of customers.” He basically was like, sorry, not sorry!

I guess looking like this is not a requirement to shop there anymore?

I guess looking like this is not a requirement to shop there anymore?

Jeffries obviously lost in his fight to be super “exclusionary.” The decision to offer larger sizes comes months later, after sales drastically dropped and A&F tried to win customers back in other ways, like releasing “cute” parody videos like this one and marking clothing down to cheaper prices. They’ll also be offering shoes other accessories for next year’s back-to-school season. Hollister stores, owned by the same people, will be revamped – hopefully in a way that allows consumers to actually see the products they are trying to buy when shopping.

Is this a step in the right direction? Absolutely. It’s excellent progress that the outrage sparked from Jeffrie’s disgusting comments was enough to make A&F do something they pledged they would never do. But is this going to work? Eh, I’m not sure. Right now, Abercrombie is like your lame ex who rejected you for someone else and then only wanted you back when that someone else rejected them. In other words: it may be too little, too late.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that Abercrombie is expanding their size options so that everyone can enjoy their clothing if that’s what they want. But I’m hesitant about whether or not it’s going to make a big difference. For one thing, people are pretty fed up with Abercrombie. Between the body-shaming and the accusations of racism from a few years ago, I think most consumers gave up on the brand a long time ago. This store does not have a good name or reputation, which is difficult to erase just by being like, “FINE. We’ll do it so we get money, okay?!”

For another thing, Abercrombie has some stiff competition. I don’t know if you’ve ever shopped there, but the store is expensive – it’s difficult to find items under $50 unless they’re on sale… most items are closer to the $100 mark. Some of the biggest stores out there right now are Forever 21, H&M and Target, where you can get an entire outfit, accessories included for under $50. See what I mean? Also, not for nothing, but Jeffries never even apologized! People who remember what he said won’t forget that either.

As Stifel Research analyst Richard Jaffe stated, “While the company is playing good defense by cutting expenses, this does little to revitalize what we believe is to be a stale brand.” In the end, it’s good that Abercrombie & Fitch is trying to be more diverse, but their efforts just might not be good enough.

Do you shop at Abercrombie & Fitch? Will you start once they start offering larger sizes? Does this make you forgive them for their comments before? Tell us in the comments.

 

Read more about Abercrombie’s original body-shaming here

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8 Comments

  1. avatar Princess Gaga says:

    This idiot gon say “nobody over size 10 can shop here”.Thats like saying a skinny girl can’t eat a donut

  2. avatar Tommy says:

    Hi,

    Just went through the article. The above statements are disgraceful. Absolutely agree with the author of the article.
    As for the price and competition on the market- not entirely agree, sorry.
    I ll explain why.
    Being practical, independent, career focused women I am in constant search for the shirt that wouldn’t be too feminine but presentable and comfortable. I know for sure that this is an issue for many of us.
    H&M and other similar brands do offer office clothing ( tailoring) range, but those are garments that made to outline feminine forms, make them more visible and look rather affordable.
    The only option is to invest in custom made garment and that is not cheep.
    To my knowledge A&F is the only brand that sells sort of shirts that made not to over sexualise women forms but to be comfortable.They sit perfect, they are long enough. Plus the quality of the material is very good and (!) no threads sticking out here and there (unlike Zara and H&M).
    I don’t think that there is competition in this regard even thou I do agree- the garments are a beat overpriced.
    But then, again, I would prefer to pay £60 pounds for a shirt that sit perfect rather than spend £200 here and there in attempt to find the one that fits.

  3. avatar destiny says:

    That store is ridiculous and the statements from Jeffries are ridiculous too. I don’t fault people who want to shop there for doing so but I have to say that based on his comments that isn’t the type of company I want my kids endorsing with their clothes. I have two teenage sons who are the exact target he wants wearing his clothes. They are popular, multi sport athletes but guess what being football linemen and shotput and discus throwers they have never fit into the sizes at that store. An xl in boys there probably fits an 8th grader. Instead of shaming kids they should take the example of HM and Torrid and make great clothes for all sizes. What Mr. Jeffries forgot the last time he looked in the mirror is that self image is what you make of yourself not of what others think of you. I know girls that go out and make salvation army clothes look good. I will never shop there again because self esteem and self image is worth more than that and since Jeffries wasn’t fired corporate Abercrombrie must not agree.

  4. avatar Yvonne says:

    Ha! Good riddance. I disliked this brand ever since i was born and i never will like it. It’s a terrible brand, the models are a terrible role model for both men and women, and it’s just a bad brand in general. Didn’t they once pull that shirt saying “I have more boyfriends than Taylor Swift”??

    Geez. Abercrombie sales have plummeted a LONG time ago and it ain’t going back up. At least HM , Forever 21 and Zara show a diverse group of models in their photo shoots , different faces, different skins , different sizes. And you know what? How many times have you seen a Latina/Asian/Black girl in an Abercrombie ad? NEVER! All anorexic looking girls and guys with almost fake six packs. Geez. Give me a break. It’s an All-American brand but soooo misleading and sooo not good at an accurate portrayal of American society. Period.

    So there you go. I will never support Abercrombie no matter what and it’s too little too late to fix the damage.

  5. avatar Popcorn says:

    While I understand why people might be upset, you don’t see me crying over the fact that I can’t shop at Lane Bryant, for instance. They don’t carry my size, period. I don’t think it was necessary for Jeffries to say what he did, but carrying small sizes is not something that is bad.

    • avatar Jen says:

      No dip sherlock! My best friend is a size 16 and has a hard time shopping at these name brand stores because they don’t freaking have her freaking size, and your gunna be like, “Well I’m to freaking skinny and want to shop at a plus size store, hur hur hur!” Wake up! There are plus size stores for A REASON! Are you going to complain on how you can’t be in special ed classes because they’re so darn easy? No, so stop being a idot and think before you speak!

    • avatar Lizzie says:

      There is a difference. Lane Bryant had to come into the picture because, in all honesty and reality, how many stores cater to bigger women? Sure you can’t shop at Lane Bryant cause your probably not that big, but guess what? You got MANY other places to shop at. Lane Bryant really is a quality brand, you don’t see that everywhere.

  6. avatar Gabriela says:

    No way those sizes were meant for “adults”. I thought that store was for kids! Wow.

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