Much has been written in recent years about the decline of Abercrombie & Fitch. The retailer has gone from producing the must-wear apparel of teens to a company desperately trying to convince people they're cool. So what better way to represent their age issues than to depict them as a shirtless man wearing A&F jeans wayyy too low?
Many, if not most, of A&F's issues stem from their notably weirdo former leader, 70-year-old Michael Jeffries, who was pushed out in December. He has not been replaced yet; few board members and senior executives rule in his stead. Businessweek's piece won't shock anyone who is at all familiar with A&F's decline, but it does provide a few pieces of intel that flush out what happens when you have a leader making bizarre decisions that go unchecked. For instance, if you're someone that always found it fascinating that Abercrombie's Gilly Hicks kept their bras in drawers, there was a reason for that, as former employee Beverly House explains:
House says Jeffries hated the way hanging bras looked, so she put most in drawers. "He thought all those bras, with those two big mounds of foam coming at you, was offensive."
Re: Abercrombie's fall from grace, chairman of the board Arthur Martinez seems the most aware of the company's place in the world. In fact, his comments fit nicely with Businessweek's cover: he at least has accepted the inevitable nature of aging–and even death–for a company. (After all, he is the former CEO of Sears.):
When asked if Abercrombie could ever have the impact on teens it once did, Martinez is almost philosophical, saying, "The wonderful and terrible thing about retail is that occupying the peak is very perilous. Aspiring to and reaching that position puts you in a very vulnerable position. The world moved on, and the company has to move on."
There is still one burning question not revealed in this piece: which member of Bloomberg Businessweek's staff posed for this cover photo?
Image via Finley McKay/Bloomberg Businessweek