June 21, 2004

Abercrombie & Fitch, or the

Abercrombie & Fitch, or the Devil’s Cargo Pants

“Would you like to buy a naked adolescent?” This query seems to be at the heart of the marketing genius behind Abercrombie & Fitch, surely the world’s most irritating clothier. For those of you blessed enough never to have entered a branch of this store, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are more than happy to let you in on its peculiar brand of collegiate fashion and vaguely homoerotic advertising.

Although we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are, in addition to being crack, rather young, we can recall a simpler time, when Abercrombie & Fitch was an admirable shop. One could purchase any number of fancy items, from ascots to elephant guns.

No longer. Whilst Messrs. Abercrombie and Fitch turn in their graves, their once laudable store has been transformed into a hideous outlet for high school and college “fashion.”

You know what we are talking about, dear reader: Cargo shorts, oversized T-shirts, and baseball caps as far as the eye can see. Without fail, everything in the shop is plastered with the Abercrombie & Fitch logo, so that you can spend $49 on a pair of “distressed” khaki pants that advertise for their prestigious brand.

Naturally, dear reader, in this respect Abercrombie & Fitch is no different from many other clothiers. After all, one sees so many shirts splashed with the Old Navy logo that one wonders whether the New Navy is faintly jealous.

But there is something particularly irksome about Abercrombie & Fitch. In fact, there are many things. Those Americans benighted enough to cling to what are called “morals” can revel in the company’s hawking of thongs to 11-year-olds. Those rugged individualists among you can marvel at the delightful uniformity of the Abercrombie & Fitch uniform. It’s as if its customers are trying to inform passers-by: Don’t worry, I’m just like everyone else. And I have the baseball cap to prove it.

And then there’s the “music” played at these establishments. As if the sartorial blandness of Abercrombie & Fitch wasn’t bad enough, its stores blast an irritating mix of techno, pop, dance, and kindred aesthetic diseases. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would conclude that the store was interested in stunning its customers into making unnecessary purchases, but this would presume that the customers in question had brains to begin with.

Surely, however, the most loathsome phenomenon associated with Abercrombie & Fitch is its advertising campaigns. Each of its stores comes replete with enormous posters of scantily clad or unclad adolescents. It’s as if the customers at Abercrombie & Fitch, by virtue of purchasing a pair of boxer shorts, will magically transform into strapping young WASPs.

Perhaps, dear reader, you are thinking to yourself: The ads can’t be that bad. But they are, they are. They make Calvin Klein advertisements seem like Horatio Alger novels.

Forgive us for coming across as too preachy, but we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” think that the success of Abercrombie & Fitch is potentially an early sign of the apocalypse. Well, maybe that’s overwrought. But we think that you should save your money and buy stuff at the Gap instead: At least they hold fast to an equitable labor policy.

Posted at June 21, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack