Wait, Did Abercrombie & Fitch Just Become Cool?
We never thought we’d be saying this—and especially after growing out of that 13-year-old phase of wearing jeans two sizes too small—but we’re actually sort of coveting the new Abercrombie & Fitch. But before you close out this tab, give us a second to explain. It’s not like we want to like their new collection, it’s just that it’s actually kind of honestly pretty cool.
After its heyday as the overpriced, under-lit, hyper-sexualized retailer that somehow possessed the power to decide whether you were a popular, hot teen or a definitive “loser” who shopped at GASP The Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch met a virtually irreversible demise, thanks in large part to ex-CEO Mike Jeffries. After enforcing a string of offensive administrative decisions—including not wanting “fat chicks” to shop at his store and exercising religious intolerance with his hires—Jeffries became embroiled in a web of controversies. Yet even after the firing Jeffries, opting to nix the CEO role altogether and instead hire a batch of new creative directors, the brand was still in major decline, with a huge market loss and apparently a plan to shutter 60 stores nationwide in the near future.
However, we gotta give credit to the retailer (which, fun fact, was originally an upscale hunting and camping goods store) for trying to revamp its entire agenda—and with former J. Crew employee, Ashley Sargent Price, taking on the role of creative director of marketing, and Kristine Szasz, former denim design director at Tommy Hilfiger, heading up the women’s design team, there may still be a sliver of hope. With a more “real-looking” take on both their clothes and their models (for example, Myla Dalbesio, one of our faves, stars in the new lookbook), we find ourselves not entirely cringing at their new designs. Sure, it might not be groundbreaking work, but if we didn’t know Abercrombie was behind these clothes, they could easily pass for Madewell, Uniqlo, or even (dare we say it) Calvin Klein.
Perhaps this is just one in a slew of baby steps the brand plans to make to improve their image, or, like the great Jojo once said, maybe it’s just too little too late. All we can say for certain is they’ve upped their ante, and for the first time in our lives we find ourselves not mad at Abercrombie or Fitch.
Whether their stores are still dark pits filled with shirtless workers and an overwhelming stench of cologne is yet to be seen.
Images via Abercrombie & Fitch.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on the new Abercrombie & Fitch.