Hollister, a California-style clothing store for teenagers run by oft-criticized parent company Abercrombie & Fitch, has been ruled in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Colorado Independent reported last week.
The judges ruling comes after a four-year legal battle between disability rights advocates and the clothing company for trendy pre-teens. After a judge asked the company to work with disability activists in March to make their store entrances more accommodating, the two sides failed to work out a compromise.
One of the plaintiffs in the class action suit, Julie Farrar, 45, said she was opposed to Hollister's wheelchair accessible side doors, which other plaintiffs argued were often blocked with merchandise.
“I would never go through a side door. It’s not something I would do. I’m philosophically opposed to that,” Julie Farrar, 45, said of Hollister stores' signature front entrances, which are meant to look like the front porch of a beach house. Farrar, who has been in a wheelchair since she was 12, said it was difficult to get into a Hollister store with her daughter.
“These stores are designed to look shuttered and hidden, as if to keep out the riffraff,” Farrar said.
I want people to know that, as a society, we have evolved over the past 25 years. Despite the fact that [Hollister]market[s] beauty and athleticism as a stereotype, the reality is they still need the rest of us people who are short, chubby and maybe with acne and wheelchairs.
The lawsuit targets 248 stores nationwide that are said to have Hollister's porch-like front steps.