In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) dominated pop culture and lived on exclusion, according to a Netflix documentary. On April 19th, Netflix will premiere a documentary called ‘White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch.’ Beginning with the 2004 class-action lawsuit accusing the label of discrimination against blacks, Latinos, Asians, and office workers, the documentary examines the myriad crises that have engulfed it. The testimony of a Muslim lady who was turned down for a job in 2015 because she wore a headscarf is also addressed. “They didn’t establish discrimination and asocial differences, they merely wrapped them up,” one journalist interviewed remarked.
Exclusion was at the heart of A&F's success
Anachronistic and often offensive, the fashion industry’s embrace of diversity appears to be out of sync with A&F’s previous objectives. One of the brand’s employees alleges the company had a document outlining the physical requirements for employment. “Recruiting attractive individuals” was a mandate.
In response to the documentary’s release, A&F took to social media, declaring that the film covers everything “prior to the current administration’s reign. However, we want to make it clear that these are acts, behaviors, and decisions that would not be allowed or tolerated at the company in the current period of the company “it was reported. Thanked its fans for their support as it embarked on the quest to become more inclusive. As the saying goes, “We recognize the work is never done and remain committed to consistently establishing a firm of which we can all be proud.”
When A&F’s CEO Mike Jeffries was in charge in the 1990s, Bruce Weber was hired to photograph catalogs and topless male models at the store. For the most part, the workers were hired for their looks and powerful physiques, and the company prospered on the exclusion of others. When Jeffries stepped away from his position in 2014, the corporation finally began to change its ways.
Upon the sudden dismissal of A&F president, Christos Angelides, the company entered a new phase of growth and transformation toward being a more inclusive brand, workplace, and enterprise. Fran Horowitz was named CEO of A&F in 2017 and has held the job for the past five years.
Net sales for A&F in the fourth quarter rose 4% from the same period last year, but fell 2% from the same period this year.
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