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HomeNEWSClothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to show less skin

Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to show less skin

The label is stocked in New Zealand through General Issue, which has stores in Auckland at Sylvia Park and the Albany Mega Centre.

Abercrombie & Fitch has drawn attention in the past for its highly restrictive guidelines around employees’ personal presentation. The Washington Post reports that sales staff, known as “models”, must abide by strict rules covering hairstyles, fingernails, piercings and any kind of headwear.

The company has now changed its guidelines to specifically allow headscarves to be worn for religious purposes, but prior to this, it has been involved with two separate lawsuits brought by hijab-wearing Muslim employees. One of these cases was taken to the Supreme Court in February. The ruling is expected in June.

Following changes announced last week, Abercrombie & Fitch will no longer police its’ employees presentation as strictly, and will cease to explicitly hire staff based on their “body type or physical attractiveness.”

By July, it intends to no longer feature “sexualised marketing”. The label has come under fire in the past for its racy catalogues, A&F Quarterly, and commonly uses shirtless models or lifeguards at events.

The in-store “models” have been renamed “brand representatives”.

In an extended interview for Salon, former chief executive Mike Jeffries said Abercrombie & Fitch deliberately hired attractive staff “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, who has spent more than 20 years with the brand, stepped down in December.

The Washington Post has speculated that these measures represent an attempt for the struggling brand to combat falling sales.

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