Abercrombie & Fitch Is No Longer The Swaddling Cloth of The Popular

Ah, but to remember the racist, sexist, absurdly expensive glory days of Abercrombie & Fitch. Sure, American Eagle was more resonably-priced, and Hollister had that creepily dim lighting that made your mom almost poke her own eye out by walking into a palm frond, but Abercrombie had those bags with the half-naked people on them. And it was a special kind of boy in high school who wore 50 popped-collar Abercrombie polos layered on top of each other because he was popular like FIFTY TIMES OVER, YO.

Things are different now: on the 15th of this month, Abercrombie announced that its second quarter numbers were "disappointing" and "not what [they] expected," and announced in February that they plan to close 180 of their US stores by 2015. Their business is generally better overseas, but even international revenue dropped 26% this past quarter. So why doesn't the image of jacked people breathing into each others' mouths sell any goddamn puka shell necklaces anymore?

Business Week spoke to some branding professionals who say that thanks to the inception of style blogs, the uniform look of Abercrombie isn't in style anymore. Instead, it's been usurped by of-the-moment trend cheapie stores like Forever 21 and H&M. Not to mention that the models themselves are hardly risqué now the way they were in 1995-2008 (the span of Abercrombie's reign of high school caste system terror).

Sigh. The summer is definitely over.

'At Abercrombie & Fitch, Sex No Longer Sells' [Business Week]