Readers of this column might remember when the Abercrombie & Fitch story broke that confirmed A&F markets to skinny women only. On Wednesday an insider from Abercrombie & Fitch told Cosmopolitan what it was like behind the scenes at the corporate headquarters and likened the “bro culture” to an image-obsessed place of employment, where employees who didn’t don the A&E fashion were told to “eat lunch off campus”
Abercrombie & Fitch is no stranger to controversy. In “The New Rules of Retail”, author Robin Lewis explained why Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, hates marketing to "fat girls." The unattractive leader of A&E equated the overweight as the unpopular kids in high school that do not belong in his clothes. Jeffries also enlightened consumers with the fact the he only hires thin, good-looking employees because they attract other good-looking people.
Since the news erupted about Jeffries’ skinny people marketing strategy, employees have attempted to shine a light on Abercrombie & Fitch’s grooming policies and work practices, however nothing has been as strange as this latest “confession” told to Elisa Benson of Cosmopolitan.
The A&E insider obtained his first “big kid” job at the Abercrombie & Fitch corporate headquarters in New York City in 2007. Not surprising, employees were encouraged to wear the brand’s fashions to work, however, no clothing was allowed to be purple or black. Those who didn’t oblige by the company’s dress code were told to eat away from the A&E masses.
Please don’t eat lunch on campus anymore, go to the distribution center (a hidden-from-the-public building off-campus) and eat there.
The female designers who were overweight wore men’s hoodies and jeans to remain “brand appropriate” because Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t create clothes for “fat girls”, a fact the confessor felt to be “subtly discriminatory”.
The A&E leak went on to label the work environment a “bro culture” because his department wouldn’t hire females, every employee in “his area was male.”
However, the most bizarre allegation against Abercrombie & Fitch pertained to the “security force of guys who looked like male models." According to the former employee, these men would leave the front desk to play sports outside and remove their shirts to serve appetizers at riotous parties that occurred during work hours.
Abercrombie has a security force of guys who look like models, and it wouldn’t be unusual to see them leave the front desk and play Frisbee or kick a soccer ball out front. Then during office parties, they would pop their shirts off and serve a tomato-mozzarella appetizer — cater waiters. I mean, these are people who work here. Sometimes at the office parties, which took place mostly after our quarterly staff meetings in the middle of the day, a beer truck would show up. One guy, it became legend, got so drunk that he either stole a golf cart or urinated on it in full view of the company. It was very surreal, having these 'parties' during office hours and then going back to work.
The A&E insider told Cosmopolitan his time with Abercrombie & Fitch “broke him.” He validated the insidious nature of Mike Jeffries, who is the cad he truly portrays himself to be. The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch loves the free press of bad publicity and enjoys offending parents, because what teen wouldn’t want to wear something that parents hate.
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