Are you attractive enough to work at Hollister?

There are many things that are not tolerated in the modern day workplace, from tardiness, inappropriate attire and the occasional ‘sicky’ on a Monday. However, are some companies taking their strict rules and regulations to a new extreme? Over the years we have heard of employer’s disdain at various forms of self expression but at what point does it become discrimination, and to a degree, sexist?

Hollister Co. is an American lifestyle brand by the hugely popular Abercrombie and Fitch. Just like the parent company, they enforce a strict dress code which they expect their employees to abide by. They must wear contemporary Hollister style clothing, keeping in tone with the ‘beach vibe’. Many potential employees are approached in the street and offered an interview, based on their appearance. Females are told to wear minimal make-up in natural tones with little (stone earrings and one ring) or no jewellery. Attire is also assessed on daily basis, to make sure that staff are wearing that season’s ‘colours’.

Speaking to Jasmine Collins, an air hostess who previously applied to work at the clothing store, she had much to say on her experience. “When I applied at Hollister, there were requirements that had to be met for the interview. We were told to follow the ‘beach babe’ look, i.e. natural. On the day I had no make-up on and I wore leggings and flip flops, and made sure that my toenails were ‘well clipped’ as per the instructions. They also prefer that your skin is near enough flawless.”

The company has been criticised for the requirements it puts on candidates.

There are few jobs that require such dramatic personal grooming, such as modelling but when you work in retail, I doubt very much whether a customer’s decision to buy is based on the appearance of staff. Collins said she felt ‘discriminated against’ which is something the company have been accused of in the past. The company gives no reason for its peculiar choice in rules and regulations but it seems that the policy should be revised after one too many visits to court.

A&F were charged for discrimination in 2009 after a District Manager told an employee of Muslim faith to remove her hijab (headscarf or veil). The student had been told during her interview that she could wear the headpiece, so long as it was one of the acceptable colours for the company.

In 2010, there was another incident involving an employee who was prevented from wearing the Red Poppy as part of Remembrance Day. The official reason for refusal was that “the poppy is not considered part of the corporate approved uniform, and it is therefore prohibited”.

Given the massive media and public outcry, the policy was revised and they now allow the Red Poppy to be worn on the day itself.  A company with so much influence and power all over the world should be responsible for delivering the diversity and equality that everyone is due. This prehistoric attitude is not something that should be tolerated in today’s society.




  1. I do not think that hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch discriminate against anyone. They just want thier brand to be properly represented. Models on the run way have to look a certain way in order for the clothing they are “modeling” to look good. Honestly, if you made something and wanted people to buy it, would you present it in an unattractive way or an attractive way? Let’s be honest with ourselves.

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