‘White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch’ Trailer: The Brand’s Epic Downfall (VIDEO)


“They didn’t invent evil. They didn’t invent class. They just packaged it.” Netflix has released the official trailer for White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch, debuting Tuesday, April 19.

The documentary film tracks the heavily scented rise of the fashion retail brand through the many scandals that led to its demise. The brand has shut down over 100 stores in recent years and mainly sells its products online. The brand previously boasted about its intentional exclusion of people who didn’t fit its “ideal” audience, which the company’s former CEO Mike Jeffries effectively described as being thin, conventionally hot, and popular. Now, its website’s tagline is “Today — and every day — we’re leading with purpose, championing inclusivity, and creating a sense of belonging.”

“In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Abercrombie & Fitch was the first stop for many shoppers on their trip to the mall,” Netflix says in a statement. “Shirtless jocks stood guard at store entrances, selling a potent mix of sex and wholesomeness. Pulsing dance beats and the brand’s fierce scent drew in hordes of young people hoping to buy themselves a seat at the cool kids’ table.”

“Led by outspoken CEO Mike Jeffries, A&F cashed in on an ‘all-American’ image and enshrined its clothes as must-haves for the new millennium,” the statement continues. “But over time, revelations of exclusionary marketing and discriminatory hiring practices began to engulf the white hot brand in scandal. Featuring interviews with dozens of former employees, executives, and models, White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch unravels the complex history of the iconic brand that influenced an entire generation.”

Standout clips from the trailer feature interviews from those with knowledge of the corporation’s M.O., which boiled down to, “Abercrombie & Fitch said, ‘We go after the cool kids. If they didn’t look a certain way, they didn’t belong in our clothing. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.'”

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Former store managers and sales staff describe the rules for entry for each employee, which much of the time was “young, thin, and white.”

“Abercrombie rooted itself in discrimination at every single level,” one interviewee says. “There’s a reason people liked that brand. Exclusion is part of our society.” Watch the full video above.

White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch is directed and produced by Alison Klayman. Emmet McDermott and Hayley Pappas produced. Matt Ippolito, Adam Bardach, John Sloss, and Tim Pastore executive produced. Production Designer Smiley Stevens and Director of Photography Julia Liu also served as executive producers. And Colin Jones served as co-producer.

White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch, Documentary Premiere, Tuesday, April 19, Netflix