Body elitism is rife within the world of fashion. Thin women are perceived as being more beautiful and touted as possessing the ‘ideal’ female figure while larger women are generally looked upon with distaste and at times revulsion.
Size is an age old debate and after spending a few years in the New Zealand fashion industry, I have encountered countless discussions on the topic. Models that are too fat, too thin, healthy versus unhealthy, the association between beauty and size – it is an argument that, in my opinion, will never have a favourable outcome for large women.
But today I am not getting into the fat versus skinny debate, as the topic has many facets and requires more than a few paragraphs to discuss. What I do want to address however, are the dumb arse, prejudiced comments and views from Mike Jeffries, the CEO of US clothing retailer; Abercrombie and Fitch.
Let’s get a few things straight, Abercrombie does not stock any female clothing above a New Zealand size 12. Why? Because according to Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, Jeffries “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people.” These claims are further substantiated by comments like this made by Jeffries:
“That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that. 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. 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. 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.”
Whoa, hold up. Exclusionary? I think a more fitting word is discriminatory.
Mr-68 year old-collagen victim-Jeffries is telling us he does not want fat, ugly or unpopular people shopping at A&F. Hmm, which with my powers of deduction means that if you are slim yet not comely of face, you are also banished from wearing A&F.
If this is A&F’s stance on who they want buying their apparel they are missing out on a whole heap of fatties, nerds and ‘un-cool’ people who could have been customers. But that’s ok, other much ‘cooler’ retail giants like H&M are embracing the plus-size market and from what I read, they are cracking it. A&F will just have to miss out on the gigantic ‘fat’ revenue that their competitors will be raking in.
Jeffries is a douche bag.
What do you think about this?