Few parents are unfamiliar with A&F (Abercrombie & Fitch) which most youngsters consider the pinnacle of cool fashion. The combination of racy ads, outrageous prices and skimpy comfort provides the perfect bait for trend-conscious kids, and those who can't afford the brand are still painfully aware of each element worn by their peers.
So imagine the irony of a young woman applying to work at the store who decries the stores very raison d'etre: building a slavish following in order to corner market share. (The only news to me was that A&F has a store dedicated to "kids," which by the look of it includes anyone in high school and younger.) So instead of selling the clothes that she already thought undermined individuality, she'll push her point and take a check for not working there.
During her job interview with Abercrombie, Ms. Elauf wore a hijab, a piece of clothing that Ms. Elauf believes is religiously mandated. At the time, she was informed that Abercrombie would not be able to hire her, not on religious grounds, but because she refused to remove her head scarf.
Abercrombie has, what they call, a "Look Policy." In other words, because they are a fashion store, they want people to dress in their fashion and their style. Ms. Elauf stated that she would not take off her hijab even if she was hired and was at the job site. She was then informed that Abercrombie had decided not to hire her. So Ms. Elauf sued.
Despite not working at Abercrombie Kids and despite being hired soon after by another store, a jury saw fit to award Ms. Elauf with the sizable sum of $20,000. Ms. Elauf was suing for a much larger amount, but the jury in the case decided not to hit Abercrombie with punitive damages. Still Ms. Elauf, 20, is "very excited" with the outcome.
She plans to take the money and invest it in a fashion store of her own.
Whatever one thinks of the A&F look (not to mention the price tags) the result is puzzling. If the woman is so dedicated to her faith that she cannot remove her hijab, how can she have sold these, or these? Is this the look that modest Muslims claim to support?
I'm confused. Nevertheless, she won a large sum from a corporation she describes as "menacing," who will continue it's cookie cutter assault on kids -- who love herds anyway. Stay tuned to see what fashions she provides in her competitive enterprise.
[Would it be snarky to point out that the Islamic world has cookie cutters of its own...? Perhaps.]