Мобильный 1 Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021July 2021August 2021September 2021October 2021November 2021December 2021January 2022February 2022March 2022April 2022May 2022
News Every Day |

How Abercrombie & Fitch used the outdoors to sell clothes


In 2022 hindsight, it is easy to pin a lot of societal ills on Abercrombie & Fitch. Anyone who made the questionable decision to wander across the threshold of one of the clothing brand’s cavernous mall outposts at any point in the past 25 years probably remembers the experience as a mix of fever dream and frat party: hundreds of identically distressed jeans, pulsing house music, dizzying clouds of cologne, abdominal muscles as shiny and delineated as buttered corn kernels. 

Did the now-embattled retailer define prep-school dystopia, or was it the other way around? This is more or less the driving question of the new Netflix documentary White Hot, which covers the precipitous rise and swift fall of the clothing empire under eccentric CEO Mike Jeffries. Director Alison Klayman lays out the narrative that Abercrombie & Fitch achieved the pinnacle of its success by exploiting the most unsavory symptoms of heady turn-of-the-millennium materialism: white supremacy, body dysmorphia, the expectation that you should pay $60 for a T-shirt the size of handkerchief. 

But its lasting role in the dark history of consumerism didn’t begin in the TRL era. In White Hot, the veteran fashion editor Robin Givhan offers the insight that Abercrombie & Fitch’s business strategy — like so many other fashion brands — comes down to, “Don’t give people what they’re asking for, but make them ask for what you’re offering.” And what Abercrombie & Fitch has consistently offered since 1892 is the idea that if you wanted to be part of the American leisure class, you had to have the right wardrobe.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Abercrombie & Fitch trafficked not in cropped hoodies, but expensive outdoors gear for the East Coast elite. Its 12-story building in midtown Manhattan was intended as a brick-and-mortar-bound Walden Pond for shoppers, where one could peruse rifles and fishing rods and get fitted for hiking outfits in “a green respite from the bustle of city life.” There was even a log cabin complete with fishing pond on the building’s roof, where customers could test out new gear or debate the virtues of hunting beavers freely. (The latter sounds like a euphemism that could have appeared on an A&F T-shirt circa 2006, but it actually happened during a 1923 meeting of the Adirondack Club.)

a black and white photo of a group of boys in scout uniforms sitting and standing inside a store near a window
Boy Scouts camp out in the store window of Abercrombie & Fitch as part of their recruitment drive for new scout members, New York, New York, January 27, 1923. Underwood Archives / Getty Images

To the casual observer, that’s quite a brand turnaround. But that first flagship Abercrombie and Fitch store, says the historian Rachel Gross at University of Colorado Denver, was a defining element of the brand’s legacy as an outdoors outfitter. That is, in her words, as “one of the most important companies for shaping this notion in the U.S. that to get back to nature, Americans needed to go shopping first.” 

The brand has profited — significantly, in its older-millennial heyday — from a singular definition of the “all-American” aspiration, one full of lake houses and long legs. In the ‘90s and aughts, the brand’s infamous advertising campaign — shot by the now-disgraced photographer Bruce Weber — was centered around physically flawless, predominantly white models in varying states of undress frolicking sexily through forests and fields. It’s pure capital-R Romantic fantasy, very Cruel Intentions-meets-Thomas Cole, but with a meticulously engineered look. If you’re going to play your guitar and weep under the trees, you need hip-hugger jeans and a studded belt. Don’t even think about sunning on the dock with your shirtless friends unless every single one of you is in cuffed cargo khakis.

a shirtless young man and a woman in a tank top and low-rise cargo pants stand in front of a clothing store
Two “greeters” welcome customers at the Abercrombie & Fitch retail clothing store in the Denver Park Meadows mall in November 2002. Kathryn Osler / The Denver Post via Getty Images

According to Gross, even at its start, the Abercrombie & Fitch empire was built on the claim that there was a correct aesthetic that one needed to have in order to spend time in nature – one made up of nothing but Abercrombie & Fitch products. If you wanted to be a true outdoorsman, you had better show up to the trail with the Abercrombie & Fitch tent, the Abercrombie & Fitch blanket, Abercrombie & Fitch woolen breeches and hunting jacket. And for the true expeditioner, price should never be an object. 

Gross’ research has focused on how this exact marketing strategy paved the way for the outdoors industry of today. Even Abercrombie & Fitch’s first Manhattan store predicated an industry standard where, ironically enough, “the idea of experiencing nature indoors — go shopping, and let that be your nature experience — is a central part of the American outdoor consumer experience.” You wander along a landscaped wooded trail alongside a burbling waterfall to enter the flagship REI store in Seattle, for example; Cabela’s is famous for elaborate, life-size wildlife dioramas that wouldn’t be out of place in a natural history museum. And then you buy $500 worth of accessories to go walk in the woods.

Which brings us to another key irony to the Abercrombie & Fitch story. The brand started out exclusively marketing to an urban cohort with a lot of money — which, in the early 20th century, surely included a great number of men who had built their fortunes through one intensely polluting industry or another. (David Abercrombie himself started his career as a surveyor for Norfolk & Western Railroad Company in West Virginia’s coal and timber country.) The fact that the enjoyment of wild landscapes was sold as the exclusive recreational purview of the class that was enriched by ruining it is a bit too familiar here in the 21st century. 

While the Abercrombie & Fitch of my teen years — and I assume the one of today, although it’s been well over a decade since I darkened the door of thatone of those establishments — bears little resemblance to the preferred retailer of Teddy Roosevelt, that ethos has remained consistent through the company’s 130-year history. There’s a very particular look you need to thrive in the wild, be it the halls of high school or the woods of Yosemite, and we’re the only ones who can sell it to you. And it will mark you as one of a rarefied class. 

Aspirational advertising was hardly invented by Ezra Fitch or Mike Jeffries or any CEO in between. But it might be the only piece of Abercrombie & Fitch’s dubious legacy that is truly, indisputably “all-American.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline How Abercrombie & Fitch used the outdoors to sell clothes on Apr 27, 2022.

Read also

Jemma's Home Made Oreo Recipe Cupcake Jemma Channel

Delicious Simple Dinner Sopita De Conchas #dinner

Man sentenced for tossing Molotov cocktails into home

Прямой эфир РБК. Главные новости России и мира сегодня (Прямой эфир ежедневно)

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on Today24.pro

News Every Day

High school scoreboard: Saturday’s NCS, CCS, CIF results in baseball, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, tennis

Today24.pro — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

State schedule for area high school teams

Sports today

Новости тенниса

Осака хочет пропустить Уимблдон из-за санкций за отстранение российских теннисистов

Спорт в России и мире

Золотые именины: день рождения ФК «Зенит» в эфире «Авторадио – Санкт-Петербург»


All sports news today


Sports in Russia today


Спорт как образ жизни: Московский авиационный центр принял участие в спортивных мероприятиях столицы

Новости России

Game News

YouTuber indulges in Steam Deck destruction to demonstrate device's durability



В Мегино-Кангаласском районе стартовал праймериз: главы наслегов агитируют за оппонента замглавы района

Губернаторы России

Авто из Германии сегодня почти бесплатно. Валютные переводы работают. VW Passat 4Motion vs Alltrack

Медная сетка в строительстве и на производстве

Какой сайдинг выбрать для обшивки дома?

В России коронавирус подтвердился еще у 4 710 человек

Отбеливание зубов – способ сделать улыбку белоснежной

«Золушка или хрустальная туфелька» по сказке Шарля Перро, музыкальный спектакль для всей семьи

Клава Кока напугала поклонников кадром из больницы

Экс-депутат Телепнёв попал в новый скандал с дебошем из-за DJ Smash

Певец Прохор Шаляпин высказался против создания Российской музыкальной ассоциации

Уимблдон без русских: за кого россияне теперь болеют на турнире

Организаторы Уимблдона разочарованы решением АТР лишить турнир рейтинговых очков из-за россиян

Теннисистка Самсонова неожиданно проиграла на старте «Ролан Гаррос»

"Сегодня понедельник, верно?" Серена Уильямс поделилась новым фото в соцсетях

29-го мая День здоровья В ТРЦ «ЩЁЛКОВСКИЙ»: чекап организма и дискотека 90-х!

Столичный производитель аппаратов дезинфекции увеличил эффективность работы благодаря нацпроекту «Производительность труда»

Первый форум для обмена опытом между зооволонтерами завершился в Москве!

Что с сайтом 123ru.net (правда)

Игорь Маковский: сегодня реализация антитеррористических мероприятий в приграничных районах остается на первом плане

Цена запчастей у дилера, валютные переводы, лучший универсал BMW M550d из Германии

Песков: разнообразная география встреч Путина и Лукашенко не является чем-то необычным

Путин в шутку пообещал Западу «поговорить с лидером РФ» об экономических проблемах за границей

Большой праздник для сладкоежек прошёл в ТРЦ «Нора»

Первый форум для обмена опытом между зооволонтерами завершился в Москве!

Группа Мистер-Твистер - песня Мистер-Твистер (1987)

Русские народные песни поёт Мария Мордасова (1977)

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости


Мать Тимати восхитилась фигурой его красотки-возлюбленной

News Every Day

The ONLY 3 Upper Body Exercises You Need for Mass

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости
"Воскресенье " Олег Митяев

Персональные новости
Близкий друг Путина миллиардер Пугачев. Вся правда о Путине, его семье и деньгах. В гостях у Гордона (2021)

Навальный об уволенном за пост священнике (2021)

Slava Marlow – суперуспех и депрессия в 21 год / вДудь (2021)

Обнаглевшие дети путинской элиты (2021)

Дайте собакам мяса (новый звук) -Владимир Высоцкий

Группа "Рождество" - песня "Так хочется жить!" (Видео с концерта в Киеве группы "РОЖДЕСТВО" в 2011 году в Доме офицеров)

Adriano Celentano Любимая песня Челентано (высочайшая энергетика) talentTV