Is Hollister clothing unfriendly? That’s the ruling from a federal judge in Denver, Colorado who is now reportedly considering an injunction against Abercrombie & Fitch, the parent company of Hollister LLC.
US District Judge Wiley Daniel ruled in March that about 250 of their stories violated the American With Disabilities Act. He ordered the stores to work with disability rights advocates to make them more accessible to the handicapped.
Instead, the stores have mostly made excuses. “They’re digging their heels in. They’ve been digging in their heels all the way,” said Julie Farrar, one of the plaintiffs in the case.
Farrar is confined to a wheelchair and had trouble entering one of the Colorado stores with her daughter. That was in 2009.
In a statement to the Associated Press today, Farrar asserted that nothing much has changed. The stores have simply put up signs telling people in wheelchairs to use a side door.
However, she said that a person in a wheelchair still can’t easily go inside: “The (side) entrances are artificial two steps up and two steps down, built to create an atmosphere for marketing purposes. That is what makes them illegal.”
Earlier, she had said that in some of the stores the supposedly accessible entrances were often blocked by tables piled with merchandise.
Hollister clothing bills itself as SoCal fashion for young, hip “Dudes” and “Bettys.” Whatever you may think of someone who uses the word “SoCal” — and a lot of us don’t think much — Hollister has built a worldwide brand based on that image. The top photograph of Hollister beach boy models was taken by a fan in Hong Kong.
The disabled people who are excluded from the store by the unfriendly entrances naturally feel discriminated against. Farrar compared Hollister’s treatment of wheelchair customers to southern stores’ discrimination against African-American customers under Jim Crow.
Coming so soon after Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want fat people shopping in his stores, Hollister’s refusal to comply with the federal judge’s court order starts to look like a pattern.
The company filed a response to the judge on Friday which said that it would be too expensive to re-do the Hollister store entrances and that the judge should reschedule a new hearing to figure out a compromise.
“@marcusfolarin: You see why places like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch are dickheads? twitter.com/marcusfolarin/…” @boo_youwhore_ u luv it
— kawaii (@liadacutie) May 22, 2013
What do you think? In my opinion the Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister clothing companies do sound pretty darn unfriendly.
[male models meeting fans outside Abercrombie & Fitch in Hong Kong photo by Natalitiameom via Wikimedia Commons]