The media has taken a sharp turn towards body image and how it is portrayed, specifically by the fashion industry, especially when it comes to models, mannequins, and clothing sizes. For some reason, fashion size expectations have been even more under fire than usual. There’s always some valid complaint regarding the unrealistic expectations of bodies (mostly female), but as of late, that voice has been louder than ever, and the headlines are smattered with size-related statements. One of the most popular headliners was Abercrombie & Fitch, for their (until now) unapologetic refusal to dress women over a US size 10. A 2006 interview with CEO Mike Jeffries said it all:
“We want to market to cool, good-looking people. 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. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
His statement was met with quite a bit of backlash, in the form of viral videos, photo campaigns, and a petition with over 68,000 signatures. On Wednesday, the company publicly responded to the petition:
“We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion. We want to reiterate that we sincerely regret and apologize for any offense caused by comments we have made in the past which are contrary to these values.”
Unfortunately, the company is still quietly under scrutiny for not providing wheelchair accessible entrances to all of their stores.