A Sparkling Vintage Life

From Classy to Cringe-Worthy: Abercrombie & Fitch

abercrombie2 I haven’t given mall retailer Abercrombie & Fitch any notice in years. It’s hard to pay notice when one’s eyes are firmly averted, so as not to be seared by the company’s advertising campaigns. But I was made aware of them once again through this blog post. Apparently there’s some sort of controversy swirling around a recent campaign to give Abercrombie & Fitch clothing to the homeless. What appears to be an altruistic gesture may be something less generous at heart.

My concern in this post isn’t to jump into the controversy, but to lament the demise of a great company that took a sorrowful turn somewhere down the line.

Did you know that, years ago, Abercrombie & Fitch was one of the most elegant stores around? Hard to imagine, right? In an older post at the delightful site The Vintage Traveler, you can learn more about this venerable store and view some wonderful old catalog pages, like this one:


“Before it was just another mall brand, Abercrombie & Fitch was one of the most famous sportsmen’s outfitters.  In 1910 they were located in Reade Street, in New York City, and from all accounts, the store was itself amazing.  There were tents set up in the store, along with all the necessary accessories for a proper camp (including a campfire).  And in 1910 they became the first store to offer sporting attire for women along with that for men.”

Read the whole post here.

I can’t help but be thankful that Messrs. Abercrombie and Fitch aren’t around to see what has become of their store and their good names.


4 Responses to From Classy to Cringe-Worthy: Abercrombie & Fitch

  • Avatar
    Diedre says:

    It’s always sad to see how things degenerate from generation to generation. I had a professor once who said that it takes about 70 years for an organization to make a radical swing to liberalism, and it inevitably happens. Things don’t tend to swing the other way.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer says:

    So true. People sometimes refer to social mores swinging like a pendulum between conservative and liberal, but I think it’s more like toothpaste in a tube. Once it’s let loose, it’s hard if not impossible to put it back the way it was.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Rova says:

    I have been watching “Mr. Selfridge” on PBS on Sunday nights. It has been interesting as the story unfolds of how he started a revolutionary department store in London and how innovative he was. Abercrombie and Fitch must have been the same for sporting goods but strayed too far and got way off with the advertising. Interesting post. Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Karen Gates says:

    I don’t think I’m particularly sad about this course of events — though I’m sure some people are. Perhaps that perfume so pungent in their stores has been masking the stench of decaying market share and product positioning for some time. Shame on them.

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