Abercrombie & Fitch was once the hottest thing going in high schools across these fifty, nifty United States. Lately, though, American teens aren't interested in paying so much as a basket of overripe plums for some tattered A&F jeans. That's got the company doing some soul-searching about its #brand #identity.
Perhaps the most telling development: They've toned down the SEXY SEX talk and dropped the blather about their "Ivy League Heritage."
Abercrombie has stumbled strategically in recent years, and teens have moved on in their locust-like quest for cool. BuzzFeed did a little close reading of the company's quarterly finding (released yesterday) and found the retailer singing a different tune. No more talk of "privilege," "preppy" and "East Coast traditions and Ivy League heritage," which appeared in an annual report as recently as March.
Now, Abercrombie is calling itself "the next generation of effortless All-American style" and waxes poetic about experiences, man, that's what really matters, not some overpriced t-shirt:
"The essence of laidback sophistication with an element of simplicity, A&F sets the standard for great taste. From classic campus experiences to collecting moments while traveling, A&F brings stories of adventure and discovery to life. Confident and engaging, the Abercrombie & Fitch legacy is rooted in a heritage of quality craftsmanship and focused on a future of creative ambition."
Compare that to:
Rooted in East Coast traditions and Ivy League heritage, Abercrombie & Fitch is the essence of privilege and casual luxury. The Adirondacks supply a clean inspiration to this preppy, youthful All-American lifestyle. A combination of classic and sexy creates a charged atmosphere that is confident and just a bit provocative. Idolized and respected, Abercrombie & Fitch is timeless and always cool.
LOOK WHAT TUMBLR HATH WROUGHT. Seriously: These days, brazenly rotten corporate values don't get you very far. I hesitate to suggest that teens are all enlightened evangelists of tolerance, but "no uggos," blather about prep schools and generally sounding like a dude who'd slam somebody's head into a locker no longer has the same currency. You're better off faking something artisanal. That, and teens are all shopping at Forever 21.
I pray to God this means the mothership on Fifth Avenue will stop polluting New York City's atmosphere with billowing clouds of Axe. Some of us prefer the scent of car exhaust.
Photo via AP Images.