White Hot
White Hot
  • Netflix Release Date: April 19, 2022
  • Directors: Alison Klayman
  • Genre: Documentary

White Hot Trailer



After conducting an insider analysis of the company for her documentary White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch, director Alison Klayman examines the “coolness by exclusion” brand but does not expect to provide answers. Rather, it would prefer that we simply accept the consequences of that exclusion. Because, at this point, there is nothing left to do with the cultural era other than exposing it, I am a supporter of that approach as someone who would like to send the brand an emotional damages receipt. During the course of the documentary, former brand CEO Mike Jeffries discusses his time with the company and his influence on the company’s business practices at both the store and corporate levels around the world. Most of us remember the brand as being an elitist, preppy cool zone for hotties only during his time with it, and he was instrumental in turning it into that. White Hot reframes the discriminatory actions taken by a company that had a monopoly on determining what was deemed cool in impressionable, early-2000s circles of young adults by appealing to our collective memories of the era through the lens of nostalgia.

White Hot does an excellent job of deconstructing a house of cards made up of societal flaws that allowed Abercrombie & Fitch to monopolize a generation’s adolescence in all aspects: mind, body, and spirit, as shown in the film. The brand’s treatment of plus-sized customers, in particular, was the source of my own personal trauma with the brand, and I wish this reckoning had gone into greater depth on this subject. White Hot could have gone further in its investigation to include Abercrombie’s body-shaming transgressions, but the documentary does a good job of getting the job done for the most part. As a result of that strange chokehold on our subconscious, it interrogates the foundations of a company that we allowed to rule our subconscious: the need to be liked. However, if the film had focused on all aspects of Abercrombie’s biases, it would have been a slightly more complete examination of the company’s culture and why it became so toxic—as well as how we became complicit in that toxic culture.

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