New Delhi: Mike Jeffries, the eccentric CEO of the US clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has done it again. Vocally against large sized men and women, Jeffries has been quoted as saying in news reports that he doesn't want "larger people shopping in his store" triggering a social media backlash.
Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail, told the Business Insider about the kind of people Jeffries wants advertising his brand and it's definitely not those who wear XL or XXL.
"He doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people," Lewis is quoted as saying by The Independent. "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 kid,'" the Independent quoted Lewis as saying.
The chain has more than 300 outlets in the US and sells men's clothes in XL and XXL sizes but targeted at athletes. "Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they're about to jump on a surfboard," Lewis said.
In an article published in the Salon magazine, Jeffries is described by a former employee at Paul Harris, a Midwestern women's chain for which he worked before becoming CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch in 1992, as "weird and probably insane, but also unbelievably driven and brilliant."
In 2002 there was an uproar over the company's thongs for middle-school girls seen as an attempt at sexualizing little girls.
"I still think those are cute underwear for little girls. And I think anybody who gets on a bandwagon about thongs for little girls is crazy. Just crazy! There's so much craziness about sex in this country. It's nuts!" Jeffries was quoted then as saying by the Salon.
"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," he told the Salon.
"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," he said in comments that triggered massive outrage.