The Aging of Abercrombie & Fitch
January 23, 2015 7:03 AM   Subscribe

"Mike indelibly linked his entire persona, his soul, to this brand’s image. He even tried to make himself look like his customers. He used to run around in ripped jeans and a T-shirt. He had plastic surgery,” says Lewis. “For him to change the brand would have taken the greatest psychologist in the world."
Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries steps down.
posted by almostmanda (139 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow... I knew he was older than he looked because of the obvious plastic surgery, but I didn't realize he was 70.
posted by Jahaza at 7:08 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


The brand is still stained with his insanity.
posted by Flood at 7:12 AM on January 23, 2015 [19 favorites]


Bew hew.
posted by Madamina at 7:13 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Mike indelibly linked his entire persona, his soul, to this brand’s image. He even tried to make himself look like his customers. He used to run around in ripped jeans and a T-shirt. He had plastic surgery,” says Lewis. “For him to change the brand would have taken the greatest psychologist in the world."

Yeah, well Mike is a piece of shit, so fuck him. This is the asshole who said, '“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids...A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."'

Door, ass, etc...
posted by leotrotsky at 7:19 AM on January 23, 2015 [44 favorites]


Maybe a catalog full of semi-nude GrILFs is the shot in the arm that A&F needs to escape the economic doldrums.
posted by Renoroc at 7:20 AM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


look what he's done to himself as he has aged.

The fact that Google image searches on Abercrombie CEO contains both orcs and Biff from Back to the Future proves that, no matter what, we aren't completely worthless as a species.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:21 AM on January 23, 2015 [56 favorites]


The 1998 me is smiling smugly and doesn't know why.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:22 AM on January 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


That photo of old men in A&F sweatpants is lovely. There should be more fashiony photos of old people in general.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:23 AM on January 23, 2015 [31 favorites]


No amount of plastic surgery can turn back the clock, Mr. Jeffries.
posted by Kitteh at 7:23 AM on January 23, 2015


I hope he turns the lights on when he leaves.
posted by I-baLL at 7:25 AM on January 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


No amount of plastic surgery can turn back the clock, Mr. Jeffries

But it can make your remaining time on earth uncomfortable and creepy for others.

Jeffries’s home looked like an Abercrombie store, with dark wood floors and arty skin pictures. Male models helped out around the house.

There's a whole bunch of bizarro Behind the Candleabra shit lurking in that one line.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:27 AM on January 23, 2015 [22 favorites]


That is a terrifying article. I can't imagine going into your twilight years having clung so desperately to the idea that youth and beauty, and making others want youth and beauty, are the only things that matter. And not even real beauty, but such a conventional and limited type.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:31 AM on January 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


The priority for the new CEO should be lowering the volume of the music at their stores. I don't even shop there and I have to hear that shit every time I'm in the mall.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:32 AM on January 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


Abercrombie & Fitch was a century old when Jeffries joined in 1992. It had been a sporting goods emporium for adventurers and the elite: It outfitted Teddy Roosevelt, Admiral Byrd, and Charles Lindbergh. Ernest Hemingway shopped there.
Dog in heaven I had no clue. To me A&F will always be identified with the shirtless, blond, hunk gatekeepers standing guard outside their Paris store on the Champs-Élysées, and the gaggle of teen girls lined up for a block behind velvet ropes just for a chance to shop there. Maybe they can rebrand themselves as a J.Crew like store with classic fashions, but I doubt they can ever live down the Era of Jeffries.
posted by dis_integration at 7:32 AM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't remember the stores so much as the fact that when I was in high school A&F was the uniform for every well-off asshole that I hated.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:35 AM on January 23, 2015 [26 favorites]


Exclusionary sizing has only gotten worse, if anything: Brandy Melville (previously) only sells "one size fits most" clothing and pants that fit 00-2.
posted by Madamina at 7:35 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think there's a backlash against hating Abercrombie on its way. The knee-jerk insult and jokes about the stores and catalogs feel good, but also about as dated as A&F's 90s business strategy. So, I think they will be able to rebrand if they recognize that.
posted by michaelh at 7:35 AM on January 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


He wouldn’t sell clothes bigger than women’s size 10 until about a year ago.

For the record, this isn't entirely accurate, though it may have been true for part of the '00s and '10s. I had a few pairs of size 14 Abercrombie & Fitch cargo pants that I bought at some point between 1998 and 2000. I remember them fondly, because I was very picky about my cargo pants and they were the best ones I found.

Jeffries is an overgrown high school bully dunked in radioactive sewage, but damn those were good pants.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:35 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought the point of becoming a rich weirdo is that you can pay young handsome men for their time and company and not have to submit to grueling workouts or disturbing Brazil-esque skin pulling and shoving.
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 AM on January 23, 2015 [28 favorites]


And Pope Guilty, yeah... My first college roommate worked there -- not when we were in school, of COURSE -- and she was basically the worst person ever, in ways that eerily mirror the Mike Jeffries lifestyle. I remember our first conversation on the phone: I said, "I'm really low-maintenance; I basically wear jeans and t-shirts all the time" and she said, "Oh, me too! I wear nothing but Abercrombie."

I distinctly remember that her overflowing closet (not including the Leaning Tower of Cosmetics, the 90 matching bra and panty sets and the 300 t-shirts -- I know these numbers because she bragged about them regularly) included at least three iterations of the same sweater, in minutely varied shades of gray.

When she had a problem with me, she called her mom, who called the RA.

She lasted one semester in our room and one more semester at our Midwest liberal arts college, but not without telling all her friends in Colorado about her (awesome) Japanese roommate's "disgusting" hair grooming techniques and dumping perfume all over herself when she was doused with beer (which was often).
posted by Madamina at 7:43 AM on January 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


I hate A&F, mainly for inspiring that horrible fucking song.
posted by jonmc at 7:47 AM on January 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


“Does it exclude people? Absolutely. We are the cool brand,” Jeffries replied.

I do remember scads of people wearing these clothes in high school, and I don't recall any of them as being particularly cool. I recall them being really, really normal. There is no place in my memory where 20-somethings wore A&F, and high school students are not actually cool. To me, they are expensive, plain-ish clothes for suburban high school students. That is all well and fine, but in no way cool.

Cool seems like it requires some sort of edge, like it wouldn't be so easy to access in every suburb in middle America for example.
posted by palindromic at 7:47 AM on January 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


I was an Aeropostale clearance rack girl myself.
posted by bleep at 7:50 AM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


The cultural context of A&F is interesting cause it seems to exist in this same cultural fantasy space of like, white WASPy monied seaside communities in the South, that like Nicholas Sparks movies/books take place in like everything Kevin Williamson has ever written (I Know What You Did Last Summer for example, might as well be an A&F commercial but with murders.) that I don't think ...ever existed....or does? But we clearly need for it to exist or really needed it to exist in the 90s? Complete with made up t-shirts for made up social events and local businesses like props and costumes for a huge movie people have decided to take part in.
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 AM on January 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


He used to do marketing
To kids in the 80s
But gravitas always wins
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:56 AM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


I remember A&F when they weren't into the cool, young, naked people on every bag and Banana Republic when it was a weirdo store where you could buy a vest with 1,000 pockets and pith helmets. If they're enduring brands, they'll evolve and evolve again. Eventually, brands and companies wear out their welcome and dismantle. I suspect that A&F has another life in it, probably based on the nostalgia of the aging Gen Xers who wore it in its heyday.
posted by xingcat at 7:57 AM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


The cultural context of A&F is interesting cause it seems to exist in this same cultural fantasy space of like, white WASPy monied seaside communities in the South

Not sure about the South, because I think you mean Vineyard Vinesland.
posted by dis_integration at 7:58 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jeffries sent a weekly “time line” to each store, listing each task, including exactly how to arrange the clothes. One button had to be left undone if a blouse were hung, two if it were folded. Representatives from headquarters conducted what they called blitzes to make sure standards were met. Rehab teams were sent in if they weren’t. “This is very much a military operation,” Jeffries told the Wall Street Journal in 1997. “It is very disciplined and very controlled.” When Jeffries visited stores, he didn’t challenge managers about payroll or theft, says a former executive—he cared only that the stage was set properly and the staff looked the way he wanted.

Holy Sea Org, L. Ron!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:59 AM on January 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


Well, it's all well and good to hate on A&F, but keep in mind that without them, we wouldn't have "Trafalgar" meaning "zombie" in cockney rhyming slang. So we can't say they haven't contributed something to the culture.
posted by Naberius at 8:01 AM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


I remember A&F when they weren't into the cool, young, naked people on every bag and Banana Republic when it was a weirdo store where you could buy a vest with 1,000 pockets and pith helmets


It was asked on Twitter last night what your first Abercrombie and Fitch purchase was.

Mine was:

super nice flannel shirt because 1991 and grunge but also I was a closeted gay 16 year old


It was still a different store back then though.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:03 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


“Every single aspect that you can imagine that affected the airplane or our behavior in it was controlled by Abercrombie & Fitch, specifically, Michael Jeffries and Matthew Smith.” The four male crew members (models provided to Abercrombie) had to wear jeans, boxers, polo shirts, and flip-flops. The manual specified the seating arrangements for Jeffries’s three dogs, the length of the spoon Smith required for his tea, and the proper way to respond to requests (“No problem”), fold washcloths, vacuum, dust, and present magazines. When Jeffries was called to give a second deposition in the winter of 2012, Abercrombie settled the case without admitting wrongdoing. The details weren’t made public.

Worth noting from a "what rich people do when they can get away with it" standpoint.

I thrifted a size 12 pair of A&F pants in about 1999. They were well made, but the fit was weird.

Looking at the ads, it strikes me how weird the whole thing is (Ralph Lauren too, come to that) - so many of the ads are all about suggesting this decadent, erotic, creepy-retro ultra-rich person lifestyle, and all the actual staff are the most wholesomely bland middle American white people you can possibly imagine - about as far from a proto-fascist early sixties (which is how A&F always strikes me) or thirties (RL) decadent super-rich-person perverse sexual subculture as you can imagine.

I was old enough in the late nineties that A&F was always basically a joke in my social circles.
posted by Frowner at 8:03 AM on January 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


Ah, Abercrombie and Fitch. The uniform of the Junior Republican trying not to stand out too much.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:04 AM on January 23, 2015 [21 favorites]


Maybe Jeffries just missed that memo about the "superior Aryan race" idea being largely discredited by that way that Germany lost World War II
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:06 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not sure what universe this guy is from where "cool" means "entitled suburban brat". The whole "aspirational" preppie fashion thing is incredibly lame.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:09 AM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Back in the early aughts, one of the various stupid pranks I came up with, but never executed, was sitting down in the entryway of an A&F, enduring that awful music, until someone asked me to leave. "What are you doing?" they'd ask.

"Trying to figure out why the terrorists hate us," I'd say. "Hang on, I've almost got it."
posted by thecaddy at 8:09 AM on January 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


For my high school experience, A&F was less "this is what the cool kids wore" and more "this is what the rich kids who used to torment me and my friends wore."
posted by Kitteh at 8:10 AM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


The cultural context of A&F is interesting cause it seems to exist in this same cultural fantasy space of like, white WASPy monied seaside communities in the South that like Nicholas Sparks movies/books take place in like everything Kevin Williamson has ever written (I Know What You Did Last Summer for example, might as well be an A&F commercial but with murders.) that I don't think ...ever existed....or does?

Not sure about the South, because I think you mean Vineyard Vinesland.


I do remember scads of people wearing these clothes in high school, and I don't recall any of them as being particularly cool. I recall them being really, really normal. There is no place in my memory where 20-somethings wore A&F, and high school students are not actually cool. To me, they are expensive, plain-ish clothes for suburban high school students. That is all well and fine, but in no way cool.

Abercrombie's branding under Jeffries was to sell "preppy" clothes to kids who would be regarded as NOCD by the types profiled in The Preppy Handbook - A&F reached for suburban upper middle class kids who wouldn't have been aware of Lilly Pulitzer (before its late 90s reboot). That Nicholas Sparks/Dawson Leary comparison is straight on. There for sure is some overlap between today's Vineyard Vinesland and A&F, but just as A&F attempted to exclude a whole swath of "not good enough" kids, there is a whole category of people who viewed A&F as mall garbage rather than "truly" preppy. The kids who brought back grosgrain rainbow belts and Lacoste in the early 00s were not shopping at A&F, for the most part.
posted by sallybrown at 8:10 AM on January 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


Dog in heaven I had no clue. To me A&F will always be identified with the shirtless, blond, hunk gatekeepers

I chuckled at this. My grandfather had an, I dunno, an A&F hunting jacket or a sweater or something. When I was a teen A&F was one of those WASPY-WASP brands that advertised in the New Yorker (Mr. Shawn's New Yorker.) It was about as far from an edgy teen brand as was humanly possible. Basically Orvis or LL Bean.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:13 AM on January 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'll fess up- I used to work at an A&F between high school and college. I estimate roughly 75% of the male employees were closeted gay teenagers.

Also, a significantly larger percentage of my income from working there was from various class action lawsuits rather than actual wages. And after working there I never purchased a single item of clothing from them, ever again.

They used to make some damn good chunky sweaters though.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:13 AM on January 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Hi, new Abercrombie CEO,

If you're reading this, then you might be interested to know that there is currently just enough animosity and bewilderment about the A & F brand that a big re-launch or re-organization or re-prioritization announcement by your company will likely get a lot of low-level attention. You could do something really interesting and meaningful, take some risks, and be guaranteed that at least people will pay attention. Not because of costly ad campaigns or outlandish/flashy designs -- the, in some respects, understated tone of your house style wouldn't have to change much. The attention is guaranteed. You can do something enduring and useful, and you can make things at which people will have to look closely to realize they want them. Because they will look closely.

Congratulations. This is a huge opportunity if you take it.
posted by amtho at 8:16 AM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I always really admired Jeffries' leadership, his vision and his utter commitment to Abercrombie. I hope the quality of the brand doesn't suffer with him no longer steering the ship. It's so hard to find well-made, classic American sportswear that matches my lifestyle and aspirations, and that's cut to fit my lean, chiseled physique.
posted by Flashman at 8:17 AM on January 23, 2015 [19 favorites]


There's a lot of hostility here and it's probably well deserved but I think we should keep in mind that when Jeffries spoke about who his customers were he wasn't describing his customers. He was describing who his customers wanted to be. Saying horrendous exclusionary shit was an attempt to signal his customers that A&F was their brand. If you doubt that look at how visceral the reactions in this thread are to some dude who pushing mass market rags. That marketing worked in the 90s, not so much now. I don't think the change in the signals' effectiveness came because we've become better people. I think fast fashion and a widening circle of tastemakers is probably ripping the hearts of mass market brands that don't adapt.
posted by rdr at 8:23 AM on January 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Actually, the catalogue proves something I realized a while back, the more authentically prep/WASP a store is, the worse the catalogue looks - like barely competent photography with two models who are someone's nice looking sons "from the club.

Also, it includes things in Christmas patterns all year 'round.

Also I can't walk into an Orvis without calling it The Will Graham Supercenter anymore.
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 AM on January 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


I hate A&F, mainly for inspiring that horrible fucking song.

"Forever Young"? It's not that bad of a song, for an 80s pop track.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:25 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dog in heaven I had no clue. To me A&F will always be identified with the shirtless, blond, hunk gatekeepers standing guard outside their Paris store

When I first came to live in North America in the 80s, A&F was this bizarre place you would go into for a giggle. It was, I guess, aiming for a kind of high-end gift-cum-home-decor market, but also trying to maintain a kind of brand identity link to its late C19th Teddy Roosevelt on safari roots. If you'd been looking to buy props for a play set in a turn-of-the-century London club where the members all had walrus mustaches and the walls were lined with big game heads, it would have been a goldmine. It sold the sort of stuff you see now in shabby-chic places, but all shiny and new and with no hint of irony. I particularly remember the picnic hampers: which were the sort of thing Jeeves would pack in the back of the car if you were throwing a delightful little impromptu picnic for some 30 or 40 intimate friends and wanted to keep things very simple, with only four or five courses, all served on fine china, and only three knives, four forks and three different wine glasses each. You know, like American Indians in the wilds!

One thing I remember particularly vividly was the set of leather-covered rhinoceroses. That is, you could walk into Abercrombie and Fitch and say "I'd like a quarter-scale rhinoceros in dark brown leather, thank you" and they would, presumably, say "right away, sir! Will you have that delivered or do you plan to take it with you?"

All of which is to say that one has to wonder just what the significance of brand continuity really is. If A&F could reinvent itself so spectacularly just twenty years ago and make itself a huge success, why not do it again? Maybe in a year or two we'll all be buying Abercrombie and Fitch computers and soon people will be saying "you mean this place used to sell clothes?"
posted by yoink at 8:25 AM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Those Ralph Lauren ads they play on PBS always get me, in that they say "Of course you hate us, look at us! We're assholes. But you also want to be us! Buy our stuff."

And I do remember old-school A&F catalogs with hunting knickknacks and odd gadgets only rich old men would want, perfect if you were still living in the 19th century. It took me a while to get that the Vapid Teen T-shirt Brigade store was the same people.
posted by emjaybee at 8:27 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can imagine that being the gay son of a party goods scion growing up in the era of beefcake masculinism produces some weird, impossible-to-place behaviors

it's hard to agree with the products of the man's upbringing and personal ethos but it's not hard to be sympathetic to the eccentricities that do exist
posted by saucy_knave at 8:27 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think this is the song in question...
posted by mmmbacon at 8:28 AM on January 23, 2015


aiming for a kind of high-end gift-cum-home-decor market

Yeah, I said LL Bean, but it was more LL Bean meets Hammacher Schlemmer.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:31 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, right.

Early A&F materials: Abercrombie & Fitch Holsters and Catalogs from the early 1900s, and covers from 1962, '63 "used guns" catalogs. They used to also make watches. You can find more in the Vintage Ad Browser (previously).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:32 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


The uniform of the Junior Republican trying not to stand out too much.

Wasn't “abercrom”, or perhaps the more emphatic “abercromag”, used as a synonym for jock/preppie a while ago?
posted by acb at 8:33 AM on January 23, 2015


covers from 1962, '63 "used guns" catalogs.

Those look like two frames from a rather sinister piece of animation in which you're seeing things from the p.o.v. of the hunted game.
posted by yoink at 8:35 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


when Jeffries spoke about who his customers were he wasn't describing his customers. He was describing who his customers wanted to be.

So rather than being a 'preppie uniform,' it's an 'apprentice preppie uniform'.
posted by chambers at 8:37 AM on January 23, 2015


Mr. Jeffries: if the word "aspirational" can be used even semi-accurately -- like by a MeFite; MeFites are always at least semi-accurate -- within ten meters of something, then that thing is not cool.

Actually, it's rather weird how a word -- "cool" -- that worked its way into mass consumer culture as a descriptor of iconoclastic nongiveafuckitude came to denote a state of maximally pathetic conformity.
posted by busted_crayons at 8:39 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Every now and then, thrifting, I still come across a piece of sturdily-made clothing that looks as though it was made for a man on a long hunting trip or perhaps a safari. It tickles me to see that Abercrombie tag in there.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:41 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


My brother used to wear a lot of Abercrombie and Fitch. He basically lived in the store as a teenager. He was asked once when he was about 16 or 17 by one of the store managers if he'd consider applying to be one of the door hunks, and my brother's response (I wasn't there) was something like "you don't understand...under this shirt I am very hairy" and walking away.

My cousin dated a guy for several years who worked part time as a door hunk.

Neither of these things are particularly interesting, I just wanted you all to know how close I came to having the shame in my family.
posted by phunniemee at 8:42 AM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


That photo of old men in A&F sweatpants is lovely. There should be more fashiony photos of old people in general.

For sure. Like, for example, the gorgeous Céline advert with Joan Didion earlier this month.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:45 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Fashion. Just reading about it gives me anxiety. Whatever I do, I'll probably look like a poser. If I try to dress like a preppie, because I like the look, the real preppies will know that I'm not actually wearing the correct brands. Same deal with any other look. And if I go into a store with nice looking stuff, the staff will either ignore me or treat me like shit.
posted by Area Man at 8:46 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


For sure. Like, for example, the gorgeous Céline advert with Joan Didion earlier this month.

Of course, we've already dissected that here too.
posted by mykescipark at 8:58 AM on January 23, 2015


I have some A&F flannel shirts and some sweaters from the early 90s, back when they made enormous, body-hiding grunge fashion that was my style. They're some of my oldest clothes and have held up remarkably well. The company's slide into skinny WASP evil was a sad time for me.
posted by bibliowench at 9:04 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


The kids who brought back grosgrain rainbow belts and Lacoste in the early 00s were not shopping at A&F, for the most part.

Or put bluntly, A&F made clothes for "preppies" who went to public school.

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with that, per se--though teen tastes are fickle enough that I'm not sure why anyone would ever want, as a business plan, to try and thread that particular needle for longer than absolutely necessary--there are lots of companies who sell aspirational stuff, though few as grossly; but I do think that their pillaging of a perfectly cromulent old brand that was doing the retail equivalent of sitting quietly by the fire and drooling on itself, in order to achieve the necessary level of fauxenticity to soothe the class-consciousness of their customers, grates.

Aeropostale, by comparison, is a self-made brand; they didn't feel the need to go and adopt some rich old uncle's name and plaster it all over the new business venture to create a veneer of respectability.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:04 AM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


The pre-war Teddy Roosevelt/Ernest Hemingway style adventurer heritage that the store has is pretty fantastic, and if they decided to embrace that and sell sturdy, outdoors-worthy stuff that was still cut and styled to a more modern aesthetic I would probably start shopping there. Not that that seems particularly likely.
posted by bracems at 9:08 AM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I still have this really cozy A&F sweatshirt from back in the day when they were still an "outfitter." It has a duck embroidered on it.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:10 AM on January 23, 2015


Or put bluntly, A&F made clothes for "preppies" who went to public school.

Ha, yes! I went to private school and only "the poor kids" wore A&F.
posted by phunniemee at 9:11 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ok. I can see how you could respect brands created out of nothing more than a brand created by pillaging an existing brand. On the other hand brands like Hollister just annoy me. A "surf brand" named for an inland city and a company that's jettisoned the whole expensive charade of maintaining a connection to surf culture.
posted by rdr at 9:14 AM on January 23, 2015


The first thing I ever heard about A&F was that they were selling an "ironic" racist t-shirt.

The second thing I heard was that they had discriminated against a young woman who worked for them because she had a prosthetic arm - they also discriminated against all non-white employees at that store.

The third thing I heard is that they didn't carry above a size 10; I've been a size 12-18 since I was 13.

So I started my infamous A&F boycott. No one notice, unfortunately, as I had never set foot in the store before I started the boycott and have also been a thrift shop aficionado since the aforementioned age 13. But I'm holding strong.
posted by jb at 9:14 AM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


jonmc: I hate A&F, mainly for inspiring that horrible fucking song.

Chinese food still makes you sick, I wager.
posted by dr_dank at 9:16 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I'd like a quarter-scale rhinoceros in dark brown leather, thank you"

Oh my god, I would like a quarter-scale rhinoceros in dark brown leather. Especially if it had cute little button eyes. It's a good thing I wasn't old enough for a credit card back then.
posted by Frowner at 9:20 AM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh my god, I would like a quarter-scale rhinoceros in dark brown leather.

So on a quick Google I see that Jonathan Adler's now selling them. The market abhors a vacuum, I guess. No button eyes, but they'd be easy to add.
posted by yoink at 9:23 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fashion. Just reading about it gives me anxiety. Whatever I do, I'll probably look like a poser. If I try to dress like a preppie, because I like the look, the real preppies will know that I'm not actually wearing the correct brands.

Wear what you want because you dig it - anything else is either work clothes, formal dress, or a disguise. If you have to deal with preppies that make you feel each encounter into a fashion version of the "Good Luck" scene from The Great Escape, why bother even being around them?

That said, this is coming from a guy who has worn various black Dickie shirts and jeans pretty much every day for the last 17 years, unless there is an event that requires something more formal. There are just a few things I do put a good amount of consideration into when it comes to 'regular' clothes, such as jackets, hats, or I suppose, glasses. However, those choices only happen every few years or so. I've just never saw the point in playing the fashion game any more than just finding what I dig.
posted by chambers at 9:25 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


there is a whole category of people who viewed A&F as mall garbage rather than "truly" preppy

and those people are the truly terrifying monsters, the undying nightmare of old WASP society, where the Bush family are new money, sort of like the Palins.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:25 AM on January 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


Oh, and here's the motherlode of leather rhinos (and other critters). Omersa in the UK. You can get a six-footer for a paltry 2,000 pounds.
posted by yoink at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


So on a quick Google I see that Jonathan Adler's now selling them.

But they're backordered, yoink!!!

(Actually, I bet it would be easy to make out out of a sturdy twill. I once made a corduroy horse on similar lines - smaller, but the same logic applied.)
posted by Frowner at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2015


Just as the brand was becoming cool at my high school (1998), I got a couple pairs of jeans, a sweater, and a shirt from the nearest store as a treat during a shopping trip. The jeans especially fit me fantastically and just looked like jeans -- no fancy stitching, no logo, all pockets perfectly sized. They were great! The store was still staged like an outfitters' shop, too. Then I went to college and the store started selling the crap that they're known for now. It was a bummer -- I always hoped they'd sell the quality stuff again -- but it made it easy to save my money.

My freshman year roommate got a job at the store a couple years after we stopped living together (and stopped being friends, though our paths still crossed socially). Whenever I saw her, she was decked out in A&F from head to toe with an attitude to match. That soured me on the brand more than anything else. Every time I read about the skeezy CEO I think of her and how well she seemed to fit their playbook.

But those jeans, man. I still miss those jeans.
posted by phatkitten at 9:30 AM on January 23, 2015


where the Bush family are new money

it's those upstart Kennedys you have to worry about - no way to make a fortune *sniff*
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I feel slightly bad for the guy being so invested in that image and so clearly delusional, BUT when I saw that one profile of him with all the pictures of him posing in his outfits and talking about how he wasn't a regular stuffy old guy, my first thought was that it was a perfect inoculation for adolescents going through that materialist stage that so many do and steer them toward a healthy adolescent hatred for the establishment.

You could just show some kid that article and tell them, "This is the sort of person who is deciding what is cool for you."

I only got a chance to actually do that I think twice, but it really seemed to have an impact and at least introduce them to the idea that there are big corporations headed up by boring, gross old men whose job was to dictate their tastes and sell them things.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


it's those upstart Kennedys you have to worry about - no way to make a fortune *sniff*
posted by The Whelk at 12:30 PM on January 23


I was reading a discussion attempting to figure out who the "new money/suit and tie" in Taylor Swift's "Black Space" was and they dismissed that Kennedy she dated a few years back immediately because of the "new money" line and all I could do was laugh and think about what the real WASPs would think.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


@rdr, supposedly, Hollister was named after the Hollister Ranch on the coast near Santa Barbara. I have no idea if such a place actually exists. But having lived in Northern California, I did like to ask the poor confused kids why they were wearing surfwear advertising a phenomenally uniteresting farm town 20 miles from the ocean.

Oh, and when stores in the city started selling clothes with their own name on them to profit a little bit from the trend, A&F sued them to stop.
posted by Badgermann at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I'm not a regular brand, I'm a cool brand." /meangirls
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


On the other hand brands like Hollister just annoy me. A "surf brand" named for an inland city and a company that's jettisoned the whole expensive charade of maintaining a connection to surf culture.

Also, I am not in the least surprised to find out that Gilly Hicks has as much connection to Australia as Superdry has to Japan (i.e., none).
posted by acb at 9:41 AM on January 23, 2015


Wasn't “abercrom”, or perhaps the more emphatic “abercromag”, used as a synonym for jock/preppie a while ago?

In the gay world, we call/ed them Aberzombies.

It's kinda funny to see the backlash here. While A&F is still relatively popular with gay guys (at least in Toronto), it fell out of being de rigeur like a decade ago.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:43 AM on January 23, 2015


Abercrombie at 50% off. I would brave their cologne-blighted stores to buy that stuff for my tween relatives. Clothes were well-made and a bargain at half-off.

I see this CEO as in the same mold as Steve Jobs: focused to the point that he is (or was) the company. A&F didn't change the world like Apple, and it did a lot of skeevy things with labor and its catalogs, but it is hard to imagine it being as big had it been designed by committee or by some on-to-the-next-gig-in-two-years CEO.
posted by zippy at 9:45 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


the undying nightmare of old WASP society, where the Bush family are new money

Of course they're new money. So are the Hiltons. Tradesmen, for god's sake! Glorified inkeepers!
posted by poffin boffin at 9:50 AM on January 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


In the gay world, we call/ed them Aberzombies

I remember saying "Aberzombie & Bitch" a lot in high school circa 99-00
posted by dis_integration at 9:52 AM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was in high school during A&F supremacy, and I never understood what they sold besides underwear, since that's all that was in the ads. (I have a little asthma, so I never went inside to find out, because walking past it would start me gasping.)

For a while at my mall it was next door to the GAP and the GAP employees fucking hated it because it was SO LOUD they could hear the music through the walls all day. At one point half the GAP employees were A&F employees who fled because they couldn't take the noise and smell anymore. They all had headaches all the time.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:56 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Out here A&F was the brand for gay guys who put "straight-acting" in their AOL profile. And I mean this quite literally.

Later it became a destination store for Japanese tour groups.

It had it's moment, but it sounds like they tried too hard to hold on to that moment.
posted by kanewai at 9:57 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Out here A&F was the brand for gay guys who put "straight-acting" in their AOL profile. And I mean this quite literally.

That's still a lot of the gay market for it here. Dress like a college broseph and deny deny deny that you're gay until there's a cock nearby.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:59 AM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


When fascism comes to America it will be shirtless and have fantastic abs.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 9:59 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Of course they're new money. So are the Hiltons. Tradesmen, for god's sake! Glorified inkeepers!

I hear they still let rooms.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:01 AM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


@ Badgermann

Thank you so much. Now I can stop being so irritated every time I see Hollister emblazoned on a cheap t shirt. I never connected the Hollister brand name with The Ranch.

The Ranch does exist but you can't surf there without boating in or as a guest from a parcel owner. So A&F makes up a brand to sell cheap shit to young kids and they can't stop themselves from embedding a reference to exclusion.
posted by rdr at 10:04 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only people I feel sorry for in this article are the dogs. The campus dog. Jeffries' dogs.
posted by oflinkey at 10:11 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


We could trade in like 1/3 of all humanity for maybe a half dozen dogs and it would be a bargain on the scale of buying Manhattan for $14 worth of shells.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:14 AM on January 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


We could trade in like 1/3 of all humanity for maybe a half dozen dogs and it would be a bargain on the scale of buying Manhattan for $14 worth of shells.

The irony is that people who say stuff like that are generally part of the 1/3rd.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:23 AM on January 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


it's closer to 1/2 now
posted by poffin boffin at 10:28 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


er.) It was about as far from an edgy teen brand as was humanly possible. Basically Orvis or LL Bean.

The funny thing is that LL Bean is becoming a trendy brand for teens. Or at least Bean boots are. There was a long waiting list for them at Christmas time, and the de facto uniform of the undergrad girls on the college campus where I work is a North Face fleece, leggings, and Bean boots.
posted by apricot at 10:36 AM on January 23, 2015


I remember being 14 and being super sad that I was too fat for their t-shirts, even though I could usually squeeze into a large anywhere else. I wish I could time-mail a picture of this dude to 1998 me. I think I'd independently invent feminism right then and there.
posted by almostmanda at 10:40 AM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


1/3? 1/2? No. No. Experience makes me think Sturgeon had it right.
posted by umberto at 10:42 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think one of the biggest ironies was that the clothes never were that sexy. It was cargo shorts and sweat pants and heavier t-shirts, yeah? A&F projected this soft-core porn image with the catalog and the shirtless guys outside, but that never went into their products.

The attitude—conformist, sexy, exclusive—hadn’t evolved much, either. But teens have. They are shopping at fast-fashion chains such as Forever 21 and H&M, which are dirt cheap.

H&M is definitely the store of the moment. Their clothes aren't rugged - I'm not sure if they'll last a season - but their men's clothes are cut nicely, with vaguely European or Japanese tailoring (leaner and tighter cuts), and are very affordable. And they're not immediately recognizable as a 'brand.'
posted by kanewai at 11:04 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


The funny thing is that LL Bean is becoming a trendy brand for teens.

IS NOTHING SACRED
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:05 AM on January 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was in high school during A&F supremacy, and I never understood what they sold besides underwear, since that's all that was in the ads. (I have a little asthma, so I never went inside to find out, because walking past it would start me gasping.)

That's what drove me over the edge with A&F-hatred: walking past any of their stores (or even within many yards of them) was an instant asthma trigger, to the point of uncontrollable coughing and gasping for breath. Sort of the physical equivalent of the mental state they induced.
posted by blucevalo at 11:08 AM on January 23, 2015


there is a whole category of people who viewed A&F as mall garbage rather than "truly" preppy.

If you lived in a McMansion in the exurbs or in some way aspired to be friends with those people, then Abercrombie was your brand.

There are plenty of places where the top of the social hierarchy aren't the rich kids depicted in the documentary "Born Rich" or the edgy kids, but rather the upper middle class kids who played sports. "Aspirational" is the best description in the sense that it is a brand for those who aspire to be what they perceive the popular kids to be like.

And the branding was really successful since someone who didn't know much about fashion but had money to spend knew instinctively that Abercrombie was a good/"elite" brand.
posted by deanc at 11:32 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I once worked for a woman who owned a luggage store. She had changed her name to match that of the luggage store that she had purchased. We joked that she had literally married the store. It was her identity.

This guy is an extreme example of that same psychosis.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:38 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


You could just show some kid that article and tell them, "This is the sort of person who is deciding what is cool for you."

At the same time, someone from MeFi made the insightful comment that a balding boring Republican who donates to Rick Santorum (the head of Urban Outfitters) is better at keeping his fingers on the pulse of cool than a guy who tries his hardest to be an eternal teenager.
posted by deanc at 11:39 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


If high school was any indication, the only thing I know about Abercrombie & Fitch clothes is that apparently they pair really well with a South Carolina Gamecocks baseball cap that obnoxiously says "COCKS" on it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:46 AM on January 23, 2015


I'm shocked to read Jeffries is 70. How is it that people become so dependent that they can't tell the emperor the truth? And now they're ruined.

I'm used to Abercrombie as the store my grandpa would buy his hunting and fishing gear from, back in the day. When they switched over to being Ralph Lauren Lite, I was already too old for their target market, so I never bought their stuff. I did see one of the catalogs, though, from a guy at work who brought one in. "This is a catalog?"

But I never thought the clothes were made especially well, at least not compared to the old J. Crew, LL Bean and even old Lands' End that I'd pick up from thrift stores. Now all those brands sell poorly made things. It's a real shame that there's so little difference in quality between these and the H&Ms of the world now, and young people, unless they're super rich and are used to better clothes, wouldn't know the difference.
posted by droplet at 11:54 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


"This is a catalog?"

Nah, it was softcore porn that kept the name in a lot of peoples' minds. The clothing was incidental and/or nonexistent.

(also it was great plausible deniability for a lot of closeted queer kids and served as a really useful in-group signifier if you saw it on someone's shelf)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:07 PM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Stay tuned for my LGBT History month exhibit:

"Closeted Capitalism: queer male catalog signifiers throughout the 20th century"

From physique pictorial order forms to International Male to Abercrombie Catalogs.

Okay this started as a joke and is now going on my project to-do list.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:54 PM on January 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


Having RTFA, that's some real Howard Hughes shit, isn't it? Still, I'll confess to a degree of admiration for anyone who can dictate the details of their own (practically fetishized) vision so successfully for so long.

The pre-war Teddy Roosevelt/Ernest Hemingway style adventurer heritage that the store has is pretty fantastic

Yes, and you'd think that the obvious thing to do with such a brand would be to reinvent it as, say, a trad American Barbour or something. Which makes me want to know more about how, precisely, Jeffries arrived at his vision for A&F. As far as I can tell, he was a big Bruce Weber fan—interestingly, Jeffries and Weber both worked for Federated Department Stores—and he basically wanted the whole world to look like a Weber shoot. I mean, I've heard of stranger things. (Sadly, tho, in this picture Weber looks like the cool old guy while Jeffries looks remarkably like Gary Busey.)
posted by octobersurprise at 12:56 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


They should let someone like me, a 26-year-old with no experience managing an entire company with multiple brands, run the company. Me and my friends, even. We're hip, we know what's in for all ages, we know what's going to be hip in the future, and we have taste.

There's my resume, now let's talk.
posted by gucci mane at 1:24 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Every hates this guy but his life was pretty dope. Flying around the world drinking tea with models, making everyone to obey his taste commands, forcing pudgy middle management retail executives to smile at his crazy fabulosity. When he was on the way out they limited his travel budget to 4 million. LIMITED IT. He's obviously evil but at least he enjoyed the fuck out of it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:28 PM on January 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hollister was named after the Hollister Ranch on the coast near Santa Barbara. I have no idea if such a place actually exists. But having lived in Northern California, I did like to ask the poor confused kids why they were wearing surfwear advertising a phenomenally uniteresting farm town 20 miles from the ocean.

That drove me batty too--I'd been to the town of Hollister and... mm, no real impression. I did learn this past weekend that the main road through Goleta (home of UCSB) is Hollister St., and something clicked for me as soon as I saw it. If there's an atmosphere that brand tries to emulate, it's Santa Barbara.
posted by psoas at 1:39 PM on January 23, 2015


I graduated from HS in 1993 and it's pretty interesting to read this article and realize that he took over in 1992. I specifically remember this transition and started to shop there as a teen because of these changes. I even remember the floor makeovers - The A&F store used to be so fusty with this horrible green carpet and then - they started updating and getting in clothes that we wanted to own. I totally owned a cologne or something that they produced in 1992 and would wear it as a girl - screw the gender norms.

The younger sister of a HS school friend was an early model for A&F in one of those black and white posters. I remember that we used to try to get the old ad campaign posters because we thought the models were so hotttt!! The best ones were always taken by the staff.

I grew up in New England so a lot of what people are quoting with the old establishment preppy culture totally rings true. Man, I would keep a particular favored A&F purple wool sweater in the back seat of my car 24/7 so that I could make an outfit change in the middle of the day or my friends could basically wear my clothes to school if we met in the parking lot before class.

I stopped buying it in college and never bought A&F again after HS though.
posted by rdnnyc at 1:50 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only people I feel sorry for in this article are the dogs. The campus dog. Jeffries' dogs.
posted by oflinkey at 12:11 PM on January 23


Are you kidding? Those dogs probably have the best lives, at least Jeffries' dogs. They probably live better than 75% of humanity.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:50 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


leather-covered rhinoceroses

Wh

What in the hell

Have you seen these
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:59 PM on January 23, 2015


Wait, aren't all rhinoceroses leather-covered?
posted by The Gaffer at 2:00 PM on January 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


The only way I can think of to use them would be in some sort of high-end Arthur Conan Doyle porno
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:02 PM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


...some sort of high-end Arthur Conan Doyle porno

*tents fingers*

Go on. I'm listening.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:05 PM on January 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


Not that I want to get in the way of a high-end Arthur Conan Doyle porno or anything, but you don't need to use a quarter scale leather-covered rhinocerous with cute little button eyes for anything; you just put it in the corner of the room and contemplate it - the pleasure of its company is enough. I have a vintage Magneto plush toy which serves the same purpose, although it is not quarter scale and covered in leather with cute little button eyes. (Which would really be something, speaking of faintly pornographic, and I bet there's a market.)
posted by Frowner at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember A&F when they weren't into the cool, young, naked people on every bag and Banana Republic when it was a weirdo store where you could buy a vest with 1,000 pockets and pith helmets.

Carhartt apparently has retail stores now, and I wonder how long it will take before they jump the same shark. Too bad, their clothes have been reliably durable workwear for a long time.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:26 PM on January 23, 2015


I am in no way a fashion expert but, honestly, when I look at A&F's current image it just feel so obsolete. It feels like their product planners and marketing people are stuck still trying to sell to high school kids circa 2002. They need to reinvent themselves... badly.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 3:27 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was such a good catalog in M*A*S*H.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 3:39 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had, I think, three button down oxford shirts that came from A&F when it was still sort of a rugged outfitter thing. I liked those shirts. I remember going into a store to look for more and being kind of confused that maybe I'd wandered into the wrong store by mistake, so this article was enlightening as to when and how that change actually happened.

In the mid 90s when they started plastering just the word ABERCROMBIE on all the clothes, if I was in the mall and bored, I'd go harass the cashiers. "Where's Fitch? Did he do something wrong? Why don't you talk about him anymore?"
posted by fedward at 3:55 PM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


he just wanted to Bro forever but found there is a limit to how bro you can go
posted by The Whelk at 4:26 PM on January 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


Sigh. He learned that you shouldn't try to go full bro.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:38 PM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


The funny thing is that LL Bean is becoming a trendy brand for teens.

IS NOTHING SACRED


Well, it's not without precedent. Timberland boots became fashionable in hip hop circles in the '90s. Nothing says "hip hop" like hiking boots from New Hampshire, right?
posted by krinklyfig at 5:23 PM on January 23, 2015


Carhartt apparently has retail stores now, and I wonder how long it will take before they jump the same shark. Too bad, their clothes have been reliably durable workwear for a long time.

Oh god, please, no. Carhartt makes the sturdiest clothes I know of and I'd hate for that to change.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:42 PM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh god, please, no. Carhartt makes the sturdiest clothes I know of and I'd hate for that to change.

Now I am terrified.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:38 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


yeah, I've noticed that carhartt is a nascent Cool Thing. can't tell if they're doing that to themselves or they're just getting justified respect for their level of quality.
posted by ghostbikes at 7:01 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess, looking back, that I should have realized my ex-model ex-bf was gay (spoiler alert, it took me quite a while longer to figure this out) when he got all *depressed* after realizing he could no longer fit in Abercrombie pants on one of our trips to the mall.

I've never fit into their stupid pants, and I was just trying to be sympathetic. Fat lot of good that did me in the long run.

Good riddance to both him and Biff the CEO, I say.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:30 PM on January 23, 2015


Carhartt may be going the other direction ... The new billionaire old white dude Republican governor of Illinois wears Carhartt to signal he's a regular working schlub like all us sturdy downstate farm folk. It's ... making a lot of devoted Carhartt fans very uncomfortable about wearing Carhartt where they might be seen because now it reads as either "wealthy poseur" or "condescending mockery" if you wear you Carhartt coat to the supermarket.

Everyone's like, NOOOO! That's my favorite coat! Now I can only wear it hunting or people will think I'm a douche!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:05 PM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


This seems kinda "live by the sword, die by the sword" here.

In other news, Abercrombie clothes have always been bo-ring.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:31 PM on January 23, 2015


I hope that they return to the quality that they once were; I have a lot of A&F clothing because it is some of the only clothing that fits my body without excessive tailoring. Granted, I'm including a pair of jeans that I purchased in 1994 (except for the wash they are, they don't look dated) and a pair of khaki shorts I purchased at a thrift store in 1998. I wore their clothes throughout high school and college and even wear them today, but I try to stay away from any of the styles with logos/names plastered all over them. I certainly never wore them to look "cool;" I'm a goofy secret redneck.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a pair of women's plain front khaki cotton shorts at a decent (not Daisy Dukes, not freakin coulottes) length?! But I am a white female who at 31 still looks a lot younger from a slightly WASPy background, so I can probably get away with wearing their clothes. Most of my other clothes are Banana (yeah 70% off sales) or outlet Brooks or VV. I wear uniforms to work, so I like nicer clothes when I have the chance to wear them.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 8:46 AM on January 24, 2015


yeah, I've noticed that carhartt is a nascent Cool Thing.


Carhartt was actually pretty in with the kids I went to university with in the UK in the 90s...I don't think it was even seen as workwear, more like skate clothing, the hoodies especially. I was surprised when visiting the US that it was more viewed as affordable well made workwear. There does seem to be an ongoing fetishization of authenticity, though, and I can see workwear being adopted in that sense, like the whole mountain-man lumberjack trend.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:41 AM on January 25, 2015


yeah, I've noticed that carhartt is a nascent Cool Thing.

Carhartt has been a nascent Cool Thing among the skater kids in the US for at least 8 years.
posted by phunniemee at 10:59 AM on January 25, 2015


goes aaaaaalllllll the way back to the punk scene, heavy duty working class gear is perpetually attractive
posted by The Whelk at 12:48 PM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I once worked for a woman who owned a luggage store. She had changed her name to match that of the luggage store that she had purchased. We joked that she had literally married the store. It was her identity.

Hi, I'm Jeanette American Tourister.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 7:55 AM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Mary Samsonite?
posted by almostmanda at 11:03 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Augusta Tumi.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:49 AM on January 27, 2015


Léonie Victorinox
posted by Area Man at 8:15 AM on January 27, 2015


« Older How to Be a Futurist   |   no such thing as a cinema audience... It is a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments