What is up with Abercrombie and Fitch? When you walk in that store, you feel like youâ€™ve fell into the bowels of someone’s in-ear ipod headphones with the volume painfully set to the highest setting. Youâ€™re then forced to listen to some crappy teenage music to the tune of LFO, or some obscure alternative happy-go-lucky garage band full of amateur guitarists and ex-high-school quarterbacks.
In-store models, walk around, shrouded with a cloud of privileged lethargy, folding intentionally wrinkled shirts at a steady pace of 3-shirts-per-hour. The air is so saturated with their branded cologne, ironically called â€œFierceâ€; all articles of clothing in the store are caked with this fragrance, and even a brief 5 minute visit to the storeâ€”in and outâ€” is enough for the â€œFierce Airâ€ to suffuse your own fabrics with Shock-and-Awe-like bravado.
Clothing is of course, priced at a moderate 3x the reasonable cost. T-Shirts, categorically described in their website as â€œhumor teesâ€, are replete with sexual innuendoes, all of the derogatory frat-boy kind, all suggestive, and all in promotion of everything schools have educational campaigns against.
Then we turn to their unique advertising campaign: images of men, similar to Menâ€™s Health Magazine covers but containing a slight pedophilia taint. There is monotony in the images. It is a tired repetition of half-naked men, all alike, with chiseled looks, and defined abs, and with the occasional Affirmative Action Model bereft of any real discernable uniqueness. Gauging from advertisement alone, and perhaps in-store larger-than-life semi-nude male model photographs, one would wonder if Abercrombie and Fitch sold shirts at all. They do, apparently.
And the empire keeps growing. AF has begun to expand their reign to the UK. They have opened up a new brand named Hollisterâ€”the poor manâ€™s Abercrombie. I admit, at a time, I too was an AF shopper. I bought into it. In fact, my wardrobe still contains trace remnants of their influence: an old polo shirt here, a t-shirt there, a pair of shorts.
Well,Â the AF lifestyle isnâ€™t for everyone. We canâ€™t all blithely stroll through life, one beer-funnel at a time.Â Some of us prefer mugs and glasses.