Your Grandfather’s Abercrombie & Fitch Would Be a Hit Today
June 20, 2015 - fall Denim
Abercrombie Fitch needs a plan. It needs to reinvent itself. It needs fewer logos and abs. It needs new styles, womanlike shoppers, and brighter stores. This is a account that has followed a struggling tradesman given it began a long impassivity in a open of 20071.
Whether Abercrombie Fitch can spin things around is debatable, though a time appurtenance would positively help. It is formidable to exaggerate what an sovereignty a tradesman was 50 to 100 years ago. At a company’s 12-story flagship on Madison Ave., one could take a fly-fishing lesson, get propitious for a frigid expedition, have a dog groomed, and buy a bocce set, all before it was time for a sundowner and some oysters Rockefeller.
Not usually was a association hugely successful in a initial half of a 20th century, though that chronicle of Abercrombie—the selected tradesman bristling with Orvis fishing rods and swaddled in down and tweed—would arguably be distant some-more successful in today’s marketplace than a stream version.
For one, it was a supposed lifestyle code when Martha Stewart was still a toddler personification house. Its products were all gateways to an experience, tailor-made to trigger a somewhat deeper emotions2 that code faithfulness is built on. Its stores were full of sailboats and cars, and a catalogs were full of humorous cartoons and strange consecrated artwork. In a 1923 ad, a association called itself a “city core of this alfresco world.” In short, Abercrombie Fitch was distant some-more than only a place to buy stuff.
Secondly, selected Abercrombie had a close on a urban outdoorsman, a character and form of consumer that accounts for a large share of today’s menswear market. You’ve seen these guys and, occasionally, girls. They winter in Fair Isle sweaters, and they summer in waffle-knits. The Red Wing boots occasionally come off, and don’t get them started on bourbon, Persol sunglasses, or selvedge denim. The many fervent among them blog during length about “heritage” and “authenticity” and Steve McQueen or advise companies on how to do so.
In an wholly unscientific practice in aesthetics, we bought a integrate of aged Abercrombie catalogs—one from 1949 and one from 1964—to see how a SKUs smoke-stack up. What we found was page on page of rigging and attire that would fly off a shelves of a Brooklyn boutique these days (apart from all a guns and ammo, of course).
The perfect volume of bric-a-brac was captivating. A mosquito-net shawl propitious for a pipe? Check. A roving martini satchel? You bet. Double-decker camping cots? Affirmative. This was a tradesman focused on a code and a style, not a “vertical.” If it was fun and outdoorsy, Abercrombie carried it. It had a line of axes and archery rigging that would put today’s Best Made Co. to shame. There was a device that launched dull (and presumably full) drink cans like clay pigeons, something called “water skates,” an inflatable boat, and a operation of little outboard motors for that vessel that seem impossibly affordable3.
And afterwards there was a attire and footwear—a closet full of classical styles that still sell briskly currently … only not during Abercrombie Fitch.
Old Abercrombie had a torpedo hooded sleet poncho; probably a same mantle is now accessible during J. Crew.
A imperishable “wool sport coat” now fetches $340 for Filson.
A span of “moccasin boots” demeanour like they are true off a Red Wing website.
And a rustic, strapped trek is on offer for $695 during Billy Reid, a Florence (Ala.) pattern emporium adored by a GQ set.
To be sure, Abercrombie is perplexing to get some of a Americana back. It is changing a “scent” and lighting levels of a stores. It has a partnership with Woolrich, that creates adequate hairy plaid to outfit 1990s Seattle (and 1890s Seattle, for that matter). It is even behind in a mattock game, in a way.
The association is, however, still offered a span of bro-pajamas called a varsity onesy ($41), as good as a cologne named Fierce (and that’s “fierce” in a clean-shaven Adonis sense, not a Jeremiah Johnson 4 sense).
At a really least, maybe Abercrombie still has a storage room built with aged catalogs. If prices on EBay and Etsy are any measure, those things are some-more desired than any of a garments during a moment.