Speaking of Brands and Prejudice…

Samantha Elauf has won her case against Abercrombie & Fitch, who wouldn't hire her because she wore a headscarf.

Samantha Elauf has won her case against Abercrombie & Fitch, who wouldn’t hire her because she wore a headscarf.

Abercromie & Fitch has been served. The United States Supreme Court today made clear that the once big brand on the block is merely the bigoted brand on the block. Plaintiff Samantha Elauf had been assessed as a good candidate to hire based on her resume and an interview with an assistant store manager. However, a district manager reversed the hiring decision because Elauf wore a headscarf, deemed against A&F’s employee “look” policy against headgear.


Here’s a glimpse at the rule book for A&F employees:


A&F sleeve roll

Aside from issues of religious freedom, is this hyper-controlled approach brand image desirable?

Has the public (or, more importantly, target market) finally had enough of this elitist retailer?


2 thoughts on “Speaking of Brands and Prejudice…

  1. Hinal Patel

    Similar to the CNN article, Abercrombie & Fitch is a brand that has been struggling for a few years with its brand presence within society. A few years ago when the previous CEO indicated that the clothing brand was suited only for “skinny, caucasian” individuals, it created an uproar and resulted in many individuals to boycott purchasing the brand. In addition, many individuals that were already opposed to the brand due to its high prices and brand values created a stronger dislike towards the brand. As a marketer, I understand that A&F is trying to create a strong brand presence through its scented clothing and stores as well as sales rep attire however, creating such a stringent and unfair hiring and targeting process is wrong. In terms of long-term success, I believe Abercrombie & Fitch should strongly change their business strategy as it does not align with societal trends and beliefs if they want to succeed.

  2. ellenbasler

    Abercrombie & Fitch has created such a negative stigma for itself an its brand as it tries too hard to strive for their idea of perfection. The rule book is an understandable item used to train employees in order to create a consistent and cohesive brand image. The way to properly dress for work is mirrored in having people wear a uniform for their job. As well, due to the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch is a clothing store, it is the brands responsibility to sport the clothes in a way that would appeal to customers. That, however, is the end of proper justification for Abercrombie’s actions. The hiring process is completely biased towards skinny, attractive, Caucasian people. To not hire someone based on a religious belief is completely unfair. Yes, she should have to wear the clothes as it would be her “uniform” but the headscarf is a religious piece important to her that does not deteriorate brand image. I think Abercrombie & Fitch is definitely becoming an elitist retailer and has decided that they are allowed to do and say what they want no matter the consequences. However, there is a new CEO and Abercrombie is currently trying to rebrand by moving away from its “sexualized” image and dark, scented stores.


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