A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop, minding my own business, when two guys came up to me and asked if I wanted to work at a new Abercrombie & Fitch store opening nearby. They tried to make the offer sound super appealing by stating that the hiring policy at Abercrombie & Fitch makes employment practically by invitation only. It's an infamously exclusive hiring process that some have called discriminatory, but as of Friday A&F is putting a major, positive overhaul of the company's policies into effect.
According to a press release from the company, A&F, which includes Abercrombie and Hollister stores under the brand umbrella, is making changes to their hiring policy, store experience, and business performance plan. IMO, the biggest change, aside from no longer hiring based on looks, is the the ending of "sexualized marketing used in marketing materials including, in-store photos, gift cards, and shopping bags," effective by the end of July, according to the media alert. Yes, that means goodbye to the shirtless men that greet you when you first walk into the stores. In addition, Hollister will no longer use shirtless "lifeguards" for special events, and you won't see topless models on any of A&F's shopping bags or packaging any longer.
The media release also states there will be more inclusive and diverse policies for hiring new employees and a less strict dress code. Both Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch media releases say "...recruit and hire the best associates whose focus will be on offering our customers an excellent in-store shopping experience. We will not tolerate discrimination based on body type or physical attractiveness and will not tolerate discrimination in hiring based on any category protected under the law." Fantastic.
In addition to the new hiring rule, a new dress code has been put in place for the two stores. The alert states, "(Hollister/Abercrombie & Fitch) as discontinued the use of the Look Policy and adopted a Dress Code that places fewer restrictions on associates....The Company will no longer use the Hairstyle Guide or Closed Toe Shoe List." Finally, the non-management staff at both locations will no longer be referred to as "Models" or "Impact Associates," but rather "Brand Representatives" or "Stock Associates." Although, I wouldn't have been mad being referred to as a model everyday (insert hair flip emoji).
In December, Mike Jeffries stepped down as CEO of Abercrombie after saying he only wanted "cool" and attractive teens wearing Abercrombie's clothes. In a statement released by the brand, Jeffries is totally on board with all the changes, saying "was the right time for new leadership to take the company forward in the next phase of its development."
By keeping its shirts on, A&F’s new developments have me a lot more eager to actually, well, put their shirts on.
Images: Getty Images (3)