Located on 300-acres of Ohio woodlands, Abercrombie & Fitch has become a multibillion-dollar lifestyle name associated with sex, youth, and casual superiority. It is also associated with unfair treatment toward the "not-so-cool kids" and the disabled.
The stores involved are the Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) Hollister stores. The man involved is Michael Jeffries, the company's 61-year-old CEO. The statement that first placed the company in hot water belongs to the bottle-blond Jeffries:
2006 quote by Michael Jeffries"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. 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.'
"That's why we hire good-looking people in our stores. 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."
Abercrombie CEO Michael S. Jeffries
Ruling against A&F violating the Disabilities Act
With this in mind, Colorado's federal judge recently ruled that the A&F and Hollister stores have violated the Disabilities Act by refusing to provide adequate entry ways for disabled people.
What this means is that the stores were sued for failing to make its stores wheelchair-accessible. Now they will be forced to comply. Denver's Judge Wiley Daniel ruled that the entrances to hundreds of Hollister stores in the United States violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Previous Colorado injunction against A&F
Previously, Colorado customers filed suit against Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and J.M. Hollister LLC, The federal judge ruled against 248 of the stores, stating the stores were not providing accessible entry way doors for the disabled and those in wheelchairs. But so far, nothing had been done to remedy the problem. Therefore, it is currently a class-action suit targeting the 248 Hollister stores over the country.
Judge Wiley Daniel agreed in March with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition that the retailers limited access for customers in wheelchairs, according to the Washington Post. The only remedy under the ADA is an injunction ordering the problems to be fixed, though individuals couldn’t be compensated, he said.
The federal judge saw the new injunction as a way to force A&F and Hollister to provide accessible entrances in their stores for the disabled. Fighting back, Hollister store teams state they cannot fix the doors as it is too expensive. They would be forced to close for ten days at a cost of $8 million. But truthfully, the customers they target do not need handicapped accessible entry ways --- so it is not a priority for them.
Fitch the Homeless clothing movement
The national clothing movement, "Fitch the Homeless," has finally reached Denver, Colorado, Michael. Originating in Los Angeles seven years ago after Mike Jeffries made the above statement, the movement is against making the homeless less than human beings.