They’re already pretty well known for their controversial ‘look’ policy – so it came as no surprise when an internal Abercrombie and Fitch document was leaked recently featuring some VERY specific instructions on how employees should dress themselves, what constitutes an ‘acceptable hairstyle’ and how to tuck in your shirt and roll up your sleeves.
Your SLEEVES for God’s sake!
The brand famously have topless male ‘greeters’ at their stores, and blatantly hire people on the basis of looks. Their shop assistants are really just walking mannequins, hired to make the clothes look good.
In some stores when a staff member makes a mistake they're 'punished' military style - with 10 push-ups for men and 10 squats for women. (Oh good - we wouldn't want the women developing non-regulation upper body strength!)
I remember walking into an Abercrombie years ago in America. It was too dark to see the clothes, to loud to communicate and the smell of cologne was overpowering. I DID enjoy being greeted warmly by a lot of VERY attractive guys in flip-flops, but I didn’t buy a single thing.
I absolutely love shopping but I found the whole experience of A&F a bit much. As a result I’ve never been to their Dublin store. (Even walking past the place is a bit intense for me – what IS that cologne?)
Abercrombie are by no means the only company guilty of hiring and firing based on hotness. American Apparel famously demands its employees dress head to toe in their (often very tight and revealing) clothing. They have a very particular aesthetic:
I would fail EVERY SINGLE ONE of those criteria. Also I object to American Apparel demanding 'clean and tasteful' from their employees when most of their advertising is anything but!
So what do you think? Is it ok for companies to have strict rules about appearance? And does it actually help to sell clothes?