When “Branding” Goes Too Far

By Matt Van Hoven 

It’s no secret that Abercrombie & Fitch does a good job hiring hot people to mope around their ear-drum-destroying stores to “fold clothes” (read: look sexy). Bottom line, they’re walking mannequins &#151 which makes it strange that a young, attractive woman with a prosthetic arm was relegated to the stock room when her secret was discovered.

Riam Dean, who is suing A&F for about $40k, apparently doesn’t fit into A&F’s “Style Guide”. Her mother e-mailed Jezebel to say: “[Abercrombie] hired her unaware that she had a disability, however when they were made aware, within 6 shifts, they removed her from the shop floor and wanted to hide her in their stock room because her prosthetic hand was breaking their “Look Policy”. […] her minor imperfection was repeatedly pointed out by various staff members who harassed her for wearing a mini cardigan (which she was instructed to wear over her usual uniform). After only her 2nd shift on the shop floor, she was told that they could not have her being seen on the shop floor, as she looked different to everybody else and asked her to report to the stockroom while they found a replacement.”


Following the conversation with the manager who told her she’d have to remain in the stockroom, Dean said she felt as though “[the store manager] had picked up on my most personal, sensitive and deeply buried insecurities about being accepted and included.”

OK fine, she was definitely not treated well. But every crap job I’ve ever had has asked me in no uncertain terms whether or not I have any disabilities. So what’s that about? Can someone send me an A&F application?

There’s more, here.


More: “Product Placement: Abercrombie And Fitch