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American Apparel Managers Told: Fire the Ugly People!

An American Apparel store manager sent Gawker an anonymous email claiming that controversial CEO Dov Charney was at it again.

The oft-sued Charney, this manager claimed, was demanding that underperforming AA stores send in photos of their sales staff to him so he could determine who wasn't good looking enough for the store. What would happen to these possibly hardworking folks who didn't enough resemble teenage Lolitas? Just guess:

"He made store managers across the country take group photos of their employees so that he could personally judge people based on looks. He is tightening the AA 'aesthetic,' and anyone that he deems not good-looking enough to work there, is encouraged to be fired."

If this allegation is proven, just wait for the lawsuits to roll in. (It's illegal, remember, to discriminate based on looks.) In the meantime, I guess I'm going to have to get my assless pantyhose from another purveyor. Perhaps the old school Frederick's of Hollywood?

Image Source: Getty
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dikke-kus dikke-kus 6 years
It sounds like a rumor. He could use a shave and a decent haircut. And eye lasic surgery.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 6 years
It sounds like a rumor. He could use a shave and a decent haircut.And eye lasic surgery.
ren_kr ren_kr 6 years
I used to be a A&F manager and let me tell you how much I thought i was losing my morality when I had to hire and recruit people. There is an unsaid list of requirements of "looks" to hire and honestly, i didn't think there was a single hot employee in any of the stores I managed. Every season or half season, head quarters would request manger pictures and pictures of our "hottest" guy and girl to see who could make it as a seasonal model. What got ME so angry was how my co managers described the not so beautiful hires as 'sacrificial' hirees and that really boiled my blood. Honestly, I'm not that ugly, and I am totally not preppy so I think that's why I was always stuck in the store never allowed to leave the store to go on 'recruiting-day trips' AKA lets go shopping and leave the remaining manager to do all our work for the day. Oh man, i have so much anger stories to say about A&F. But i don't think AA is as bad as A&F from what I read, but I've never worked there but I did apply and they did requested photos which automatically peeved me and didn't go to the interview.
nancita nancita 6 years
Dov Charney is definitely a douche of the highest degree, but sadly, this isn't that unusual in retail. I had a friend who was told she was getting a promotion at her mall job because she had "that Aero look."
mguy414 mguy414 6 years
Um, the people who work in the back at A&F are often on the floor, putting clothes out and such, so they are held to the same standards as the people who are on the floor. And a lot of times we in the back are sent to work on the floor. I specifically requested to work in the back, because I am shy and don't like talking to people, and they stuck me in the VERY front to greet everyone on Black Friday. And I defintely don't think I am "model" material.
kaitxo kaitxo 6 years
That's rude. Plus, if he were in one of those photos he would totally have to fire himself!
gomelalolo gomelalolo 6 years
this happens a lot. A&F does that to its employees, those that are not "model" material are sent to work in the back, where nobody can see them. Sad to hear that AA does this as well, especially during this economy, people need their jobs!
Chouette4u Chouette4u 6 years
"It is a bit different from using only attractive models in that modeling is all about looks, but working sales in a retail store is a job where you don't need looks so much as you need skill in communicating the relevant benefits of a product to particular customers."Retail at these clothing stores is two-fold, and part of it is being the living, breathing models in the stores. Why else would these companies care that you wear their clothing brand while you work?"If you were a retail manager would you rather have a sales staff of pretty idiots or would you rather have a sales staff of skilled salespeople able to use empathy to connect the consumer to their ideal products?"Why does it have to be one or the other? For most jobs, there are multiple characteristics needed in a potential employee. It's not brains vs. beauty here, it's about about finding people who can be both attractive and competent salespeople, and I don't think that idea is very far-fetched. Plus, I don't think the fashion industry sells clothes using empathy; if anything, they embody the antithesis of empathy, IMO."Such a philosophy of valuing superficial characteristics over skills can serve as a boon for short term sales, but could be deleterious for long-term sales."Tell that to Hooters. They've been hiring attractive girls with big boobs for over 25 years now.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 6 years
"It is a bit different from using only attractive models in that modeling is all about looks, but working sales in a retail store is a job where you don't need looks so much as you need skill in communicating the relevant benefits of a product to particular customers." Retail at these clothing stores is two-fold, and part of it is being the living, breathing models in the stores. Why else would these companies care that you wear their clothing brand while you work? "If you were a retail manager would you rather have a sales staff of pretty idiots or would you rather have a sales staff of skilled salespeople able to use empathy to connect the consumer to their ideal products?" Why does it have to be one or the other? For most jobs, there are multiple characteristics needed in a potential employee. It's not brains vs. beauty here, it's about about finding people who can be both attractive and competent salespeople, and I don't think that idea is very far-fetched. Plus, I don't think the fashion industry sells clothes using empathy; if anything, they embody the antithesis of empathy, IMO. "Such a philosophy of valuing superficial characteristics over skills can serve as a boon for short term sales, but could be deleterious for long-term sales." Tell that to Hooters. They've been hiring attractive girls with big boobs for over 25 years now.
Phil Phil 6 years
It's not the legality of the move that's the issue, so much as the implication that salespersons should be physically attractive to be most effective. People who could possibly move product very effectively will be fired or denied employment as a result of such an exclusive policy. A move to purge the sales floors of people judged as unattractive could very possibly be counterproductive to the goals of a retailer. In the end all that will have been accomplished is the rebranding of a company that thinks little of people less endowed in a conventional ideal of beauty. It is a bit different from using only attractive models in that modeling is all about looks, but working sales in a retail store is a job where you don't need looks so much as you need skill in communicating the relevant benefits of a product to particular customers. If you were a retail manager would you rather have a sales staff of pretty idiots or would you rather have a sales staff of skilled salespeople able to use empathy to connect the consumer to their ideal products? Such a philosophy of valuing superficial characteristics over skills can serve as a boon for short term sales, but could be deleterious for long-term sales. A smart retailer would rather hire to build customer loyalty and that means setting the top priority to hiring effective salespersons. Of course, pretty people can be great salespersons as well, but to limit your hiring practices to only the pretty people would place your company at a hiring disadvantage.
mguy414 mguy414 6 years
I agree with you Chouette, I don't think it is horrible either. The ridiculously good-looking line reminds me of Zoolander! Though, as far as my store goes, we do try our hardest to have a diverse group of people working with us! I knew A&F had certain standards when I applied there just from shopping there all the time. I am not drop dead gorgeous or anything, and they still stick me on the sales floor to try and sell stuff! (Which doesn't work out well as I generally dislike people and prefer to work in the back!)I mean...I know that if I walked into Hot Topic right now and asked for an application they would laugh in my face. Because I am a preppy little A&F girl and I would not portray their brand the way they wanted it to be portrayed, and I am okay with that. Though, what exactly does American Apparel sell? I don't think we have one here, is it kind of like an Abercrombie or Hot Topic or something where there would be a certain "look" associated with it?
mguy414 mguy414 6 years
I agree with you Chouette, I don't think it is horrible either. The ridiculously good-looking line reminds me of Zoolander! Though, as far as my store goes, we do try our hardest to have a diverse group of people working with us! I knew A&F had certain standards when I applied there just from shopping there all the time. I am not drop dead gorgeous or anything, and they still stick me on the sales floor to try and sell stuff! (Which doesn't work out well as I generally dislike people and prefer to work in the back!) I mean...I know that if I walked into Hot Topic right now and asked for an application they would laugh in my face. Because I am a preppy little A&F girl and I would not portray their brand the way they wanted it to be portrayed, and I am okay with that. Though, what exactly does American Apparel sell? I don't think we have one here, is it kind of like an Abercrombie or Hot Topic or something where there would be a certain "look" associated with it?
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 6 years
Pot calling the kettle black indeed.I don't believe that an employee has to be "beautiful" in order to hold down a job. Were I the manager of the store I would hire based upon competancy and I would only fire a great worker if they refused to shower.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 6 years
Pot calling the kettle black indeed. I don't believe that an employee has to be "beautiful" in order to hold down a job. Were I the manager of the store I would hire based upon competancy and I would only fire a great worker if they refused to shower.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 6 years
I guess I am the only one who doesn't think that this is horrible. Like chole bella pointed out, discriminating against someone based on their looks isn't illegal unless there is racism involved (which I am sure is also really common at these stores, but that is a different issue). If you work at AA or AF or other such clothing stores, you're really part retail associate, part model. That's why they require you to wear their own clothing brand while you work. I don't think that this is particularly unethical. It's no different than the stores picking good-looking models for their catalogs. As for this guy being unattractive, I don't see how that is relevant. Did he say, "We can only have employees who are as ridiculously good-looking as me"? No.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 6 years
I guess I am the only one who doesn't think that this is horrible. Like chole bella pointed out, discriminating against someone based on their looks isn't illegal unless there is racism involved (which I am sure is also really common at these stores, but that is a different issue). If you work at AA or AF or other such clothing stores, you're really part retail associate, part model. That's why they require you to wear their own clothing brand while you work. I don't think that this is particularly unethical. It's no different than the stores picking good-looking models for their catalogs. As for this guy being unattractive, I don't see how that is relevant. Did he say, "We can only have employees who are as ridiculously good-looking as me"? No.
Pistil Pistil 6 years
But I thought the company prided itself on the fact that they use average looking girls in their ads, without digital enhancements and such.
Sarahab145 Sarahab145 6 years
haha phil!!
Sarahab145 Sarahab145 6 years
haha phil!!
GKitty GKitty 6 years
My Grandma used to say: We are living in the "Last Days"... if she were living now I wonder how she would take the stuff I've been seeing/hearing!!
genesisrocks genesisrocks 6 years
A) That's a lot of pictures to look atB) Is that his picture or just an example of someone he would fire?
genesisrocks genesisrocks 6 years
A) That's a lot of pictures to look at B) Is that his picture or just an example of someone he would fire?
Phil Phil 6 years
So, is Dov Charney going to fire himself? Has he seen himself in the mirror?
chloe-bella chloe-bella 6 years
Tre - It's actually NOT illegal to discriminate on the basis of attractiveness, as long as the features associated with certain races aren't considered more attractive than others. Think about it - if it were illegal to do so, every clothing designer/retailer would be doing something illegal, because models are always selected on the basis of looks.
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