Abercrombie & Fitch Controversy Continues: Employees Forced To Wear Too-Small A&F Clothes At Work?
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As the Abercrombie & Fitch controversy continues, a blogger has added her personal experience to the backlash.
Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries’ 2006 comments that the brand goes after the “cool and popular kids” and is purposely “exclusionary,” added to the store’s refusal to carry women’s clothing above a size large, has caused controversy in recent weeks.
Former Abercrombie & Fitch employee Kjerstin Gruys has added her voice to the backlash, writing for Salon about her experience working at Abercrombie & Fitch and about the brand’s troubled relation to body image.
“My fascination with the politics of clothing size began in 2004 when I worked at A&F corporate as a merchant in their outerwear division,” Gruys writes.
“Employees were expected to dress ‘on brand’ at work, which meant always wearing A&F clothes from the current season. I squeezed myself into the second-largest A&F women’s size available — an 8 — and dieted to stay that size.
“It terrified me to know that if I gained weight and sized out of their women’s clothes, I’d have to wear ill-fitting men’s T-shirts and sweatshirts to work every day, as I’d seen other ‘large’ women do.”
Gruys writes that the brand’s “exclusionary” image links size and popularity, and adds that she’s skeptical that the backlash will bring about meaningful change either to Abercrombie & Fitch or the fashion industry as a whole.
She calls for an end to vanity sizing and points out that the average 19-year-old girl would not fit into any clothes sold at Abercrombie & Fitch.
Fashionista writes that Abercrombie & Fitch has issued a statement in response to Gruys’ story.
“Abercrombie & Fitch does not require its associates to purchase clothes from the Company, nor to wear the Company’s clothes unless the clothes are given to them.
“In addition, Abercrombie does not require women to wear men’s clothes. The Company respects each associate’s individuality, but like any other corporation, the associate dress policy requires that employees dress in a respectful, professional manner.”
Read more about the Abercrombie & Fitch controversy below:
Jun 03, 2013 12:01 PM EDT