Abercrombie & Fitch under fire for not making plus-size clothes

2011 Bloomberg

Abercrombie & Fitch has stirred up controversy and a petition over its policy of catering to thin and beautiful customers.

It's probably the first thing you notice when you walk into an Abercrombie & Fitch store — everyone seems to be young, thin and beautiful. Anyone searching the racks for clothes that would fit anyone else is out of luck — Abercrombie doesn't do plus sizes for women.

Now that stance has gotten the company into trouble.

A new Change.org petition is urging people to boycott the fashion retailer until CEO Mike Jeffries offers plus sizes.

The petition was created by 18-year-old Florida native Benjamin O'Keefe, who says he has suffered from an eating disorder and felt "worthless" when he couldn't fit into A&F clothes — the "it" style everyone else was wearing.

The petition highlights a comment made by Jefferies to Salon in 2006, in which he says that he isn't bothered about excluding some customers:

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," Jeffries said. "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."

"Anyone who's been to Abercrombie & Fitch in the last few years has probably noticed that they don't carry XL or XXL clothing because they don't want overweight young people wearing their brand," O'Keefe's petition says. "According to this popular teen clothing retailer 'fat kids' will never be a part of the popular crowd and will therefore never be a part of their brand."

O'Keefe claims that the company takes a "big risk with this tactic" because two of its biggest competitors, H&M and American Eagle, both offer XXL sizes for men and women.

"Stop telling teens they aren't beautiful and start making clothes for young people of all shapes and sizes!" O'Keefe writes.

As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had 1,855 supporters, and only required 145 more.


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