Abercrombie and Fitch (A&F) is the parent company of a well-known group of clothing brands. What began as a middle school jean trend has exploded into an empire of SoCal trends. Hollister, Abercrombie, and A&F are the three child companies.
In recent years, the brands have attempted to change their aesthetics to be more refined and sophisticated rather than just casual and beachy. The brands’ great fame earlier in the 2000’s has tainted their image concerning style. But, has their supply chain undergone “improvements” as well?
It is clear in research that A&F’s supply chain is fast fast fast…so is there fashion in order to stay on-trend. There is no surprise that comes with finding the supply chain is up to speed.
A&F, though they say they are committed to fair labor rights, have not updated their progress to be transparent for all to see since 2012. The 2012 results are still available, but there is no transparent, hard facts beyond that despite their stated efforts to audit and create supply-chain transparency. On top of this, the 2012 audit information showed only 51% of the factories across 19 countries are in acceptable condition.
With a widely-spread, global supply chain cranking out fast fashion and the stated commitment for transparency, A&F should be releasing more information on how they are doing with these commitments. Words mean nothing when there is no proof to say it is being enforced, even if they are doing third-party auditing. They still have the choice of whether or not they release the audit results. A five year gap is not acceptable.
In fact, there was a recent law suit involving US retail workers in a A&F Hollister store. The employee involved was not compensated for the on-call shifts she completed. Though much of the labor violations are over seas, we also cannot ignore local labor treatment in retail stores. This is a symptom of a greater problem; if labor rights are not respected in US retail fronts, then we can hardly expect fair treatment and respect behind the closed doors of international factories.
A&F’s website seems to cover all of the bases. But do their recent results actually reflect that? Unfortunately, the answer is no. They could be improving as far as we know, expect for the fact that we DON’T know.
Written by: Madeleine Williams