The photo was posted late last week and quickly went viral, with critics accusing the fashion retailer of promoting unhealthy lifestyles and glorifying obesity. This is a complete turnaround from a company that was once shunned for discriminating against women of average weight.
“New Abercrombie & Fitch ad just dropped…. This season they are featuring diabetes and heart attacks,” one person responded on Twitter to the original photo.
New Abercrombie & Fitch ad just dropped….
This season they are featuring diabetes and heart attacks. pic.twitter.com/7I6PvU6Sm2
— Natalie F Danelishen (@Chesschick01) August 27, 2022
“Is this a joke? Who aspires to this look?!” someone else asked.
“She has a pretty face, too bad society told her not only was it healthy to look like this but it was also brave and empowering,” another person on Twitter agreed.
Many followers questioned if the image was real or the product of some clever photo editing skills. For now, the Abercrombie Facebook page still has the picture posted.
Meanwhile, in 2013, the CEO of Abercrombie went viral for making comments about overweight customers wearing the brand after the retailer was accused of refusing to sell XL- or XXL-sized clothing.
Robin Lewis, author of “The New Rules of Retail,” explained the CEO’s thoughts on the brand, Elite Daily reported.
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said of then-CEO Mike Jeffries. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”
Jeffries himself said as much in 2006. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told Salon in an interview.
“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. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he concluded.
Jeffries retired in 2014. There was a renewed interest in the decline of Abercrombie’s popularity following the release of the Netflix documentary “White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch” earlier this year.