- Edited by Vivian Kelly
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Thursday, June 17, 2010
Abercrombie & Fitch Helps-Out The USA's Image Abroad
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
I’ve had a change of heart – Abercrombie & Fitch is now on my “go-to” retail list. Two events happened that changed my perspective on this mammoth chain.
For the past year, I’ve had a perverse kind of fun knocking my tween daughter’s obsession with ABERCROMBIE & FITCH. Those of you who follow TheFE know that I’ve tweeted – a lot – while suffering through a shopping excursion to our local Abercrombie.
It’s overload at every level of the senses: the smell – “Have you tried the latest fragrance” as we’re at the register just seconds from escape.
Our verbal response, “Ahhh, yes, thx, but I can’t decide today, there are so many…..”
Our internal response, “As IF I could differentiate between the six+ fragrances assailing me.”
The other peeve – the less than stellar quality of these made in China items that retail at full price at inflated price points.
Everything changed on my last store visit two weeks ago when we went in to buy a bikini for the seventh grade end-of year pool party. Bored, I idly fingered the fabric expecting Wal-Mart – like quality. Shock! The quality of these suits was as good as that a few doors down at J. Crew, whom I have religiously bought my bikinis from for the past decade. All of a sudden, the glasses came off and I looked at the store with an entirely different perspective and with that came a set of conclusions.
1. A&F is a feat of genius branding.
2. Lensman BRUCE WEBER perfectly captures the “American Dream”, such as it is in this day and age.
Sadly, the dream may not really exist anymore due to the recession, and tech, which has forever changed our world perspective, BUT after gazing at Bruce’s shots, I remember being young in the late seventies and feeling and looking like the kids in the ads. Beach bonfires at the little beach off Tod’s Point, the super slow ferry to Nantucket, rope bracelets we got there and wore all summer until they had turned a dark dirty gray, pukka shell necklaces, and long straight center-parted hair.
The SECOND event that put me in the A&F camp took place at a BBQ earlier this week. There, we met some soccer coaches from the professional German tea, ENERGIE COTTBUS, who were going home the next day.
The subject of ABERCROMBIE & FITCH came up. One of the coaches and his wife were worried about how they were going to get 50 lbs of Abercromie & Fitch merch through customs without getting slammed with an overweight charge. [They put all the shoes in their carry-on as –so far – no one bothers to weight that.] Neat trick, Ronnie!
When I asked them WHY they bought so much A&F, his wife said, “It’s so American, and we want that”.
In this time, when national morale is at such a low due to Iraq, the Recession, and now the BP disaster, it’s good to know that the world still loves the USA.
To shop Abercrombie & Fitch, visit, www.abercrombieandfitch.com
Image of Bruce Weber with Vogue Italia's Editor in Chief, Franca Sozzani, from www.fashionologie.com
*Bruce is a regular contributor to Vogue Italia. To see more of his work, pick up a copy!