Abercrombie & Fitch “doesn't stock XL or XXL sizes in women's clothing because they don't want overweight women wearing their brand,” says Business Insider. Apparently, the article emphasizes, the brand doesn’t consider ‘plus-sized’ teens to be part of the ‘cool kid’ crowd that they so long to attract.
"He doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people," Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, told Business Insider about Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries. "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 write-up for Salon in 2006 notes that at Abercrombie, “if looks could kill, everyone here would be dead.” Apparently, that’s the whole idea behind Jeffries’ marketing scheme. The very core of his strategy is that exceptionally cool, sexy and exclusive simply sells.
Jeffries said he thinks that including everyone would make his business “boring,” writes Business Insider. In the meantime, the article explains, “plus-sized is no longer a niche market: 67 percent of the apparel purchasing population fit that label, and the number is growing all the time.”
In that regard, American Eagle and H&M, two of Abercrombie’s biggest competitors, stock much larger sizes: H&M carries pants up to size 16, and American Eagle up to size 18. H&M even recently featured a plus-sized model in its latest swimwear collection. The largest size Abercrombie carries for women? Size 10.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” Jeffries 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."
One wonders, will Abercrombie go under as the classic concept of beauty evolves into portraying more realistic bodies? According to Jeffries, his business model is based on 100 percent natural selection.