Mike Jeffries is the CEO of Abercrombie Fitch, but it’s likely the controversial executive wouldn’t fit his own qualifications to work in one of his stores.
The clothing retailer has been accused of deliberately excluding plus-size women from wearing its clothes, as it does not offer womenswear in sizes above large. Then came a charge from Robin Lewis, a retail industry analyst and co-author of The New Rules of Retail, who said Abercrombie Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people.”
“Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they’re about to jump on a surfboard,” Lewis said, noting that men’s clothes at the retailer still come in XL and XXL sizes.
Mike Jeffries admitted as such in 2006, telling Salon that the company only wants good-looking people working in their stores.
“That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores,” Jeffries said. “Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
Jeffries added: “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.”
Mike Jeffries has been punished for the strategy in the past, settling a $40 million class-action lawsuit in 2004 alleging that stores had a nearly all-white staff. Now Jeffries is taking a beating in the court of public opinion.
Many commentators have noted that the 68-year-old Jeffries is too ugly to work in his own stores, with his face so full of plastic surgery that it looks permanently stuck in place.
On a thread on the image and link-sharing site Reddit titled “Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch. Too ugly to work at his own stores.” one user noted that he looked like “a deformed Gary Busey.”
“You know it’s bad when you look worse than Gary Busey,” another replied.
Lewis noted that Abercrombie Fitch’s position amounts to: “Being overweight isn’t sexy and cool.”
According to the assessment of the internet, Mike Jeffries falls into that category.