What Price for Fashion?

I understand retailers wanting to maintain a certain image, and that their employees are a part of that. However, this is clearly a policy that can be taken too far. Witness Abercrombie & Fitch, one of the trendy teen destinations at your local mall. They have a policy that their employees “must represent a natural, classic American style”. This dictates what type of clothing can be worn and how hair is styled, among other things. Okay, so far so good.

Along comes a young lady named Riam Dean looking for a job, which they gave to her. Yet shortly after being on the job her “horrific looks” (as clearly seen in the adorable photo of her) were apparently too much to bear. She was first asked to cover her prosthetic arm by wearing a cardigan sweater, but was then told to seclude herself in the stockroom, away from public view. Nice.

Not surprisingly, she’s suing. In this case, I hope she wins big, but I fear it won’t matter. A&F has already paid 10’s of millions of dollars to past employees for various discrimination suits. They seem to now be at a point where paying off workers is just a normal business expense.

The only way this sort of behavior will truly stop is if their consumers ultimately react by altering their shopping habits. However, I fear that won’t happen either as I have a suspicion that if you’re shopping at A&F, you may have already declared that no price is too high for fashion.

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