“I don’t want large people shopping in my store. I want thin and beautiful people.”
In May of 2013, the issue of the underrepresentation of alternative body types—unusually large or unusually small, big-chested or big-waisted, too tall or too short, and so on—came to a head when Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, had an exclusive interview with Benoit Denizet Lewis of Salon Magazine. In it, he answered the question of why he does not carry any women’s sizes above size ten in his store: he does not want any “fat, uncool” people seen wearing his brand. (Benoit)
At first glance, it may seem that this problem may be specific to Jeffries and his eccentricities, but the sad truth of this largely ignored problem is that many major clothing retailers discriminate against alternative body types. In addition to the unrealistic portrayals of their models and their largely Photoshopped ads, these stores do not even offer jeans that can fit a girl of 5’8” or shirts for size fourteens. Not only that, but the stores which carry out this discrimination are largely those which aim for teenage clientele, such as Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Urban Outfitters. These stores are the ones which have had the worst controversies within the last three years. (Benoit) (Cathleen)
The above three stores do not carry any sizes above a women’s large in their stores. Abercrombie does not carry any size above a women’s ten. (Pous) (Kendall) (Benoit) Even stores such as Lululemon, an active-wear store that largely specializes in yoga, does not carry above a size twelve. They treat their size ten and twelve clothes by throwing them under tables in unfolded clumps rather than the rest of their smaller clothes, which are folded neatly…
…s’ Size 16 Mannequins Are Great. Now We Need Even More Diversity.” TheGuardian.com. The Guardian, 6 November 2013. Web. 21 January 2014.Mirror Mirror Eating Disorders. “Body Image in the Media.” Mirror-mirror.org. Mirror Mirror, 2014. Web. 21 January 2014.NPD Group. “NPD Group Reports Size Matters to American Women”. Npd.com. The NPD Group, 10 September 2012. Web. 10 March 2014.
Posnanski, Tony. “Dear Abercrombie: Thank You for Allowing us ‘Fat, Uncool’ Kids to Buy Your Clothing Online.” Huffingtonpost.com. Huffington Post, 6 December 2013. Web. 15 January 2014.Pous, Terri. “We, the Underdressed: A Brief History of Discrimination and Indifference in Fashion Retail.” Style.time.com. Time Style, 22 May 2013. Web. 15 January 2014.The Health eZine. “Obese Shoppers are Discriminated in Stores.” Health.lilithezine.com. The Health eZine, 2012. Web. 15 January 2014.