Abercrombie and who?: Woman with prosthetic arm forced to work ‘out of sight’ in storeroom

Woman with prosthetic arm forced to work ‘out of sight’ in storeroom
Independent: Law student felt humiliated by clothing retailer, tribunal told

The Independent reports today that a law student with a prosthetic arm was forced to work in the storeroom of the clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch because she did not fit with the company’s strict “looks policy”, a tribunal heard yesterday.

I know the retailer Abercrombie & Fitch but, frankly, after reading this, it is unlikely that I would wish to use their products. Their website shows a fit buff young man – of appeal to the laydees and gays, no doubt, and their pitch is clearly towards the so called ‘beautiful hoorays’. They have a ‘flagship’ store in Burlington Gardens.

What I find particularly distasteful about this is that Abercrombie & Fitch gave Riam Dean a job, presumably aware of her prosthetic arm (she was born without a forearm) and then shunted her into a stockroom because the cardigan she was required to wear to hide her prosthetic arm did not fit the Abercrombie” look.

The Indie notes: “But she says she was later removed from her sales position and made to work in the storeroom, out of the view of customers, because the cardigan did not adhere to the “looks policy” – a written dress code which stipulates rules on aesthetics such as hairstyle, length of fingernails and forbids facial hair. Inconspicuous tattoos are acceptable only if “they represent the Abercrombie” look.”

Riam Dean says: “Abercrombie were asking the impossible. Like the colour of my skin, I was born with a character trait I am unable to change, thus to be singled out for a minor aesthetic flaw made me question my worth as a human being.”

A look at the world of Abercrombie & Fitch

As I’m not gay and I’m certainly not beautiful enough (or at all) to use the products of this miserable excuse for an outfit

I thought I would do my duty and poke about for the benefit of those who choose to read (and hopefully rant on)  my blog . Pictured right is the type of beauty Abercombie and Zilch are appealing to…. but a visit to their ‘Gallery’ (Don’t online porn sites refer to ‘Galleries’ ? – I wouldn’t know, of course).. throws up some Hooray Henry type lifestyle shit.

I just couldn’t help myself M’Lud… and I continued to look through the ‘gallery’.
At this point I needed oxygen – not through arousal you understand – but through an attack of hysterical laughter.  This stuff is just too, too pretentious – overdone and almost beyond parody.  They have a ‘Cheeky Cousin to Abercrombie & Fitch’.  I had lost the will to live by this point… but… if you want to look as if you have just got up after wetting your bed, because you haven’t grown up and do not know how to treat people with respect… then you too can buy a shirt and look like this. (What is that man doing in the pic on the right? Is he going to tweak his nipples?)

I don’t suppose they sell rubber sheets for beds… not even in their ‘Prep School’ section.

OK… enough vulgar abuse for the day…

By the way… The Independent states: “Akash Nawbatt, representing Abercrombie & Fitch, argued that Miss Dean had “exaggerated” the effect her experience with the company had on her and claimed her problems at the store stemmed from long-standing anxiety issues. The hearing continues.”

Frankly, I am appalled. Riam Dean is a law student. Let us hope our profession employs her for her ability and does not humiliate her. I wish her luck.

And finally… the news, reports etc is up on Insite Law.

25 thoughts on “Abercrombie and who?: Woman with prosthetic arm forced to work ‘out of sight’ in storeroom

  1. As I said on Law Actually’s blog, I know Riam Dean, we went to the same uni and were in the same year.

    As far as I know she did not say on her application form that she had a prosthetic arm, but she did tell her managers that she had one. She obviously felt completly distressed when someone asked her to take off her cardigan by a member of the visual team (which she had permission to wear from her direct manager) as this would reveal her prosthetic arm.

    Banishing her to the stockroom for someone who does actually fit the very pretty A & F style but just only happens to have one arm seems to be completly unbelievable.

    I am also boycotting A & F for life. This case has taken a year to get to the Employment Tribunal, and Riam has had the stress of the case and doing her final year exams.

    I hope she kicks the shit out them 🙂

  2. Also I would like to applaud Riam’s bravery when she has been appearing at the tribunal, showing fully that she has a prosthetic arm.

    That must be quite difficult for her aswell.

  3. given the bar is quite negative about those who ‘court publicity’ by blogging, i can only wonder what our dear unbigoted profession will make of this mere woman with the temerity to stand up for herself. do you think she will get pupillage in a chancery set?

  4. SW: You have a point…. I do hope so!

    Curious that the Bar, under pressure from recession and the coming Legal service Act new dawn should be so against competing in the market for work!

    But.. ours is not to reason why… according to them!

  5. That’s it. In protest, I am going to stop modelling for A & F !!

    Would be interested to know whether any senior members of the profession are helping her with her case, and at their expense. If not, why not ?

  6. Pingback: Abercrombie & Fitch have pissed me off and many others too! « Charon QC

  7. I’m amazed that they thought that A) this is an acceptable way to treat people and B) that they could get away with it. Absolute wankers.

    Now if only we could take down Jack Wills too.

  8. Bravo for excellent coverage on this wretched company. Since employing its dictatorial policies on “cool” Abercrombie has been no stranger to negative media attention and unfortunately, the Riam Dean case does not surprise me.
    Consider the “business savvy” of Abercrombie’s CEO, who stated: “…we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.” Uh, okay “dude.”

    On a related note, I pick up our free local paper, The Village Voice, each week, which has an abundant section of ads for escorts, bodywork, etc. It appears that Abercrombie is modeling their advertisements after the Village Voice’s “adult entertainment” photo section- just add a dash of “Hot and sweet. 9 inches uncut. Incall/outcall” and they’re good to go!

  9. So they’re okay to have amputee children make their clothes in the east for a pittance and exploit them fully, just not have them sold by intelligent, beautiful amputee students?
    Who the fitch do they think they are prescribing what is and isn’t beautiful, fitching body fascists.
    Flicking through the vacuous photo spreads in their “gallery”, which actually seems like an identikit of genetically mutilated halfwits from a very small gene pool.

    I vote to round up as many aesthetically unappealing people as we can, dressed down to the nines to flash mob them in disgust, get as many images out there as possible merging uncool with their brand.
    I’ll lead the way with my ugly mug!

  10. @SW and @CharonQC on the Bar’s reaction, that WOULD be interesting. The Bar is coming under heavy pressure to do something in respect of diversity, which it has dragged its heels on.

    Riam is both female and has a prosthetic arm. Any chambers that says no would have to have very, very good grounds….

  11. Dear barboy

    I am Riam’s mother, I assure you no one is paying for her legal expenses other than myself. However that was a nice thought of you. thank you.


  12. Hello one and all! my mother showed me this website and I could not fight the temptation to assure you that your kind comments are much appreciated.

    I very much enjoy reading these comments, your opinions show me that whilst some individuals choose to live a life of ignorance, the rest of us mere mortals are more than aware that it is the 21st century and laws exist to prohibit such blatant displays of eugenics and prevent companies exploiting their discretionary powers.

    Thank you all!

    LOST? text me and let me know your identity, I have a clue who you are 🙂

    kind regards

    Ri (Riam Dean)

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