Suburban mall favorite Abercrombie & Fitch is ending its infamous “Look Policy” that just wouldn’t die, even after an argument in front of the Supreme Court. Business Insider reports that today, just three months after the retirement of notoriously image-obsessed CEO Mike Jeffries, the store will end the policy of recruiting good-looking shoppers to work in their stores and then making them adhere to strict appearance-based standards as employees.
As part of the change, Abercrombie & Fitch’s sales clerks will go from being referred to as “models” to boring old “brand representatives.” There will also no longer be shirtless male models at store openings and events, nor will there be “sexualized marketing used in marketing materials including, in-store photos, gift cards and shopping bags,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Abercrombie & Fitch and its partner brand Hollister sent a memo to managers about the updated hiring practices:
“Abercrombie & Fitch will 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.”
The brand’s previous “Look Policy” had aggressive requirements on employees’ bodies from fingernail length (“1/4 inch beyond the tip of the finger”) to hair color (no “streaks, blocks, or chunks of contrasting colors”) according to BuzzFeed.
The brand is clearly in the midst of an overhaul: some changes are progressive, and some just plain smart. Its notoriously tiny clothes will now come in plus size. It started an anti-bullying campaign that’s reached 750,000 teens according to Business Insider. It’s also removed the telltale blinds from its storefronts and reduced the scent of its trademark overpowering Fierce cologne by 25%. However, WSJ reported, an image of a shirtless male model will continue to be used to market Fierce, “consistent with the fragrance industry.”
To those of us born in the ’80s, this iteration of A&F is completely unrecognizable. A good thing for society, a bad thing for the questioning young teen who was planning to ask the shirtless model at the door for a photo tonight. Guess he’ll just have to get a model fix elsewhere.
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