Abercrombie & Fitch bans the colour black from its brand.
The retailer confirmed to Business Insider that it doesn’t sell black clothing. Management also discourages corporate employees at its Columbus, Ohio headquarters from wearing the popular colour at work.
Employees told us that it’s common knowledge that notoriously meticulous Abercrombie CEO Michael Jeffries is behind the exile of black clothing.
“Management will tell people that Mike hates the colour, and so we’re not supposed to wear it to work,” the employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “It even applies to coats in the winter.”
The company provided us with this statement about why it doesn’t care for the colour:
“Abercrombie & Fitch does not sell black clothing and discourages wearing it at our home office and in our stores, because we are a casual lifestyle brand and feel black clothing is formal. We have nothing against black clothing and feel it is perfectly appropriate for things like tuxedos.”
Among its competitors, the ban on black is unique to Abercrombie: American Eagle sells a plethora of black options.
It’s another example of the power the image-conscious Jeffries wields over the brand.
Jeffries is said to be the reason Abercrombie doesn’t sell women’s XL or XXL clothing. Its largest women’s pants are a size 10, while H&M’s standard line goes up to a size 16, and American Eagle offers up to 18.
He explained his obsession with traditional beauty in a 2006 interview with Salon.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, 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.”
A Bloomberg story last year detailed the crazy rules Jeffries had for models working on the company’s private jet.
The flight crew had to wear Abercrombie jeans, polo shirts, flip-flops, sweatshirts and a winter coat. Jewelry besides wedding rings and watches was banned.