NEW YORK, April 24 (UPI) -- The culture of muscle-bound salesmen and Barbie-perfect saleswomen is changing at Abercrombie & Fitch. Employees will no longer be hired based on body type and attractiveness.
The teen-focused clothing brand is overhauling its legendary "Look Policy" that addressed everything from French manicures (a no-no) to hair styles (only natural looks). The store will now put a bigger emphasis on customers and less on its "models" -- Abercrombie-speak for store employees.
The changes come as the company tries to distance itself from longtime CEO Michael Jeffries who left in December, criticized for saying only "cool, good-looking people" should wear his clothes.
"We are focused on the future not the past, and there is complete alignment that these are the right changes," said A&F brand president Christos Angelides.
In addition to no longer hiring people based solely on looks, the company will stop requiring employees to wear Abercrombie duds exclusively. The dance-club store atmosphere, which included blaring music, flashing lights and a strong scent of cologne, is going to be toned down to create a "more pleasurable shopping experience." Employees will now be called "brand representatives." And those shirtless, hunky guys at store openings, and other sexualized marketing, will be a thing of the past.
Abercrombie's Look Policy has gotten the company into trouble more than once. In February, U.S. Supreme Court justices heard arguments in the case of Samantha Elauf, a Muslim teen who was denied a job because she was wearing a head scarf. The company argued its actions were legal because it didn't know the scarf was for religious reasons. In 2013, Abercrombie settled two similar lawsuits in California for a combined $71,000.