Yesterday I had a surprising debate with friends while at work. While it isn’t abnormal for us to strike up a funny debate (the Dunkin Donuts in NY vs. Boston argument is the usual), it is surprising for it be about Abercrombie & Fitch…
1) Please god don’t remind me of middle school or
2) Aren’t they trying to make a comeback or something?
And that’s exactly what we were debating in the office. For those of us in college now, Abercrombie’s brands were our childhood. The tight tank tops, bright polos, and too short skirts were major staples in our wardrobe. Navy was everywhere and black just wasn’t an option. Now, fast forward almost ten years later and you probably have a very different closet and opinion on the brand
We all remember the ridiculous comments (former) CEO Mike Jeffries made about Abercrombie being for the ‘cool’ kids, but let’s be real, by that point the Abercrombie generation had all moved on. We’d moved onto bigger and better things – aka Zara, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and H&M. All these brands promised us the same aspirational lifestyles that Abercrombie had flouted with their half-naked campaigns, just without the moose and to-dark-to-see-anything stores.
Well, now Abercrombie & Fitch is back… or is it? I really don’t know. They brightened up their stores, covered up the models, and completely revamped the clothes, but the question is does anyone even know or care? With bloggers wearing sponsored Abercrombie looks and The Man Repeller even jumping onto the bandwagon you’d think we’d all be heading straight to the stores. Unfortunately for them, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
My friends at school and even my little sister’s high school friends are seemingly oblivious to this whole rebranding. We all still see the Abercrombie & Fitch of 2006, but I don’t know if that’s because we won’t ever change our minds or because A&F just isn’t doing enough. Can the brand actually push through and remind their old faithful shoppers what we loved about the simple yet cool clothes and apply it to the 2015 market? Even further, can they catch the up and coming 13 year olds at the mall who make B-line for Forever 21? I would say yes. I don’t believe our values and preferences have changed so much that Abercrombie is completely irrelevant. I just think we need a bit more of a push in the form of more marketing and press about this updated Abercrombie & Fitch.
I mean really, look at the clothes above. There is everything on trend that I buy constantly for myself. Leopard accessories, leather accents, chunky turtlenecks, and even that button up skirt that every fast fashion store has on it’s shelves right now. While thankfully updated, it still goes back to Abercrombie’s identity as the preppy with a little bit of a casual edge retailer. So, I’m giving A&F a second chance and heading to a store the moment I get a chance. What do you think? Can you go back to the store of your middle school years and see it in a new light?