Netflix has tell-all doc about the rise and fall of Abercrombie & Fitch coming this month

The brand was accused of only hiring ‘good looking’ people, and firing people it deemed not good looking enough


Netflix has announced it has a new documentary coming, all about the rise and fall of nostalgic clothing and lifestyle brand, Abercrombie & Fitch. Abercrombie was *the* brand back in the day, with its famous paper bags covered in torsos of hot, white male models. However, this marketing and the company’s hiring process was soon found out to be hugely discriminatory, as the documentary film will explore.

Announcing the new documentary, Netflix said: “Featuring subtle notes of superiority & discrimination. White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch premieres April 19.” Here’s everything we know so far.

The Netflix documentary will focus on controversy with Abercrombie & Fitch and its marketing and hiring

Abercrombie & Fitch conquered malls in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s with gorgeous models, pulsing dance beats and a fierce scent. But while the brand was running white hot, its popular “all-American” image began burning out as controversy came to light surrounding its exclusionary marketing and discriminatory hiring. In the late ’90s, it had 36 stores and was making $50million in sales. But come the early 2000s, and the retailer was sued for discrimination and received backlash for an offensive product line.

via Netflix

According to Insider, the brand received public backlash from Asian Americans for images on its clothing depicting Asian stereotypes. The products were subsequently removed from stores. A year later, a suit was filed for alleged discrimination against African Americans, Asian Americans, and other minority applicants at the retailer.

It was reported A&F managers were told to say they weren’t hiring to applicants who didn’t “fit a certain look”. The company settled the lawsuit in 2004 without admitting any wrongdoing, according to Bloomberg. It paid out $40 million and changed its hiring guidelines. The company was accused of having an “all American” look, which to it meant skinny and white. The brand was accused of only hiring “good looking” people, and firing people who it deemed not good looking enough.

The company also sued American Eagle over copied designs, but the court ruled in favour of American Eagle. The brand has also been accused of excluding plus-sized clothing. Later, the brand ditched its famous “shirtless male greeters” at stores and rebranded to target an older audience.

The scandalous and investigative new documentary is by acclaimed filmmaker and journalist Alison Klayman, best known for her award-winning 2012 documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. She also directed Jagged – a documentary about Alanis Morissette – and 2018 film Take Your Pills on Netflix.

Watch the trailer for White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch here

White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch will be available on Netflix from April 19th. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Netflix’s next ‘deeply unsettling’ true crime is about the harrowing Jimmy Savile case

• Ranked: The best true crime documentaries on Netflix, according to Rotten Tomatoes

• People can’t get over Netflix true crime Bad Vegan, saying it’s wilder than The Tinder Swindler

Featured image via Unsplash (before edits) and via Netflix.