As the documentary explains, a major issue that permeated Abercrombie & Fitch during its days of teen fashion domination was the lack of diversity in its executives, staff, and even advertisement subjects. In fact, these exclusionary practices resulted in several lawsuits, one of which made it all the way to the Supreme Court.
One plaintiff who took the company to task was Carla Barrientos, who got a part-time job at the Valley Plaza Mall in Bakersfield, California, when she was 19. Barrientos, who is Black, reported being relegated to closing shift details like window-washing and the stockroom and not being allowed to swap shifts with her co-workers upon request. Eventually, Barrientos found that she was taken off the store’s schedule entirely, with her effectively being fired without a word.
Barrientos went on to join a class-action lawsuit in 2003 alongside others who alleged discrimination, and the case was settled the following year. As shocking as Barrientos’ experience and the aftermath was, though, that wasn’t even the end of Abercrombie & Fitch’s problematic policies, so be sure to check out “White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch” for more of the documentary’s jaw-dropping details.