If you’re over 19 and have an aversion to blasting music and frayed-looking cargo pants and teeny tiny tank tops, you probably haven’t been in an Abercrombie & Fitch recently. But plenty of the younger set go there seeking just the right shirt, or a pair of jeans that will do the trick for the Big Game, whatever kids do these days. If those teens happen to be girls larger than a size L or 10, however, they’ll be out of luck.
While retailers like H&M and American Eagle, Abercrombie’s big rival, offer larger sizes for women, Abercrombie refuses to do so or explain why, notes Business Insider. It’s worth comparing the brands —H&M has a plus-size line and pants that go to size 16 and American Eagle’s sizes go up to XL and XXL, and 18 in women’s pants. But perhaps in the pursuit of appealing to “cool kids,” Abercrombie only has larger sizes for guys. Those bigger guys probably play football and rugby and stuff, so that’s cool.
It could all boil down to the mindset of CEO Mike Jeffries, who seems to want customers like the teens who are in the inside of the circle and not staring in from the outside in plus-sized fashions.
To that point, Business Insider points out a 2006 interview Jeffries did with Salon, where he said things like this:
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “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.”
When asked by BI why the company doesn’t have larger sizes for women, a spokesperson for Abercrombie said the company wasn’t available to provide a comment.
While on the one hand we get it, that by marketing to only a small slice of the population, Abercrombie is trying to cultivate a certain set of customers and keep that exclusionary feeling — you’re special if you can manage to pull those size 10 pants past your knee! — but times, they are a’changin’. There are more brands and retailers out there opening their arms to people who have shapes and come in sizes other than 00-10, and they’ll gladly take money from those shoppers.
If Abercrombie doesn’t eventually take the lead of its competitors, it could lose out on a whole lot of sales by alienating the part of the population who either don’t fit in their clothes or don’t like the company’s attitude towards plus sizes. But on the other hand, all those shoppers avoiding the store that doesn’t want them anyway will be doing their ear drums a huge favor.
Abercrombie & Fitch Refuses To Make Clothes For Fat People [Business Insider]