Oh, Abercrombie & Fitch! Your sexed-up, overpriced, sexist, ridiculous clothing epitomized everything that sucked about the late 90's. And now, after a long reign of terror, the kids are finally over your brand of bullshit.
Let me explain why I hate Abercrombie & Fitch so much: when I was in the hospital for anorexia 5 years ago, I shared a room with a young woman who was so sick that she needed to be tube-fed 24 hours a day. She was at least 40 pounds underweight and looked like she was going to break. The week before she was hospitalized, she told me, she went to buy clothes at Abercrombie & Fitch, and the manager pestered her the entire time, begging her to apply for a job there, because she had "the look they wanted." Classy!
Abercrombie & Fitch rose to prominence during my high school years, when bland preppy clothing somehow became all the rage. Never before or since have kids in public school taken such a shine to khaki pants and puka shell necklaces. Walking into an Abercrombie & Fitch (or a Hollister, or an American Eagle) is a bit like walking into a super lame high school party; the stench of cheap cologne is everywhere, the lights are low, the music is bad and way too loud, and there is an air of pseudo-sexuality that screams, "I want to make out with you but I'm going to be reallllly bad at it!"
Abercrombie has made headlines over the years by releasing such charming women's t-shirts with sexist slogans such as "With these, who needs brains?" and "Blondes are adored, brunettes are ignored," (the shirts were pulled after boycotts sprung up) and by promoting racist t-shirts with lines like "Two Wongs Can Make It White." Somehow, the company kept going after these disasters, as the kids kept dropping their money on overpriced terry cloth pants.
But the recession is changing everything, and the kids are moving away from the Abercrombie brand. The store is struggling, posting a 34% drop in sales since last year, a number Caitlin McDevitt of MSNBC notes is "the worst among retailers in March."
"There was a time when Abercrombie's sexy ad campaigns and half-dressed salespeople were irresistible to teens," McDevitt writes, "A time when an endless line outside the flagship Fifth Avenue store curled around the block each morning. A time when the store effortlessly convinced young people that wearing two expensive polo shirts was infinitely more stylish than wearing just one. And the teens followed like lambs. There were days when A&F stock topped $80 per share, but those days have passed. Now, shares have sunk to less than one-third of that, and it seems that the embroidered Moose logo may be losing its cachet."
Don't worry, Abercrombie. I'm sure you still have stock of your racist, sexist t-shirts to cry into. And, of course, Rich Cronin will always think you are fly: