Abercrombie and Fitch are highly controversial for the image attached to the name and for their suspect business practices.
The image attached to A+F clothing tends be regarded as either: elite, sexy, expensive, suggestive of money and status, and popular; or mindless, racist, elitist, shallow, and depraved, depending on viewpoint.
Abercrombie and Fitch has come under numerous lawsuits for alleged racism and discrimination in their hiring and marketing tactics. Furthermore, A+F's marketing is extremely skillful with psychological manipulation. The stores are equipped with looped advertisments running non-stop in back areas, designed for maximum saturation of propaganda, and affect multiple senses at once with constant spritzing of their trademark fragrance, loud, pulsing music, offsetting lighting and visual propaganda, and availble tactile stimulation. These are all coupled with heavy sexual imagery (to compound the point, the music played is also inductive of sexuality).
Much of the marketing tactics of A+F border on or directly resemble fascist (particularly Nazist with the excessive elitism and alleged racism) indoctrination techniques. Along with Hollister Co., which is owned by the same company and employs identicle tactics, the stores are often viewed as cultish because of their heavy propaganda and the apparent mindlessness often associated with those who shop at A+F. The youth targeted and often excessive sexuality of A+F propaganda gives A+F an image of depravity not shared with other similar stores such as American Eagle (excepting Hollister Co. which again, is very similar to A+F).
While overly gross generalizations are often made of people who shop at A+F, the cultish image created by A+F and the zealot nature of some A+F supporters, as well as the frequency with which the stereotypes are accurate refect poorly on the overall group who shop there.
Much of A+F's tactics can be seen in fascist philosophy.
A&F Employee/Male Model:"Hey ladies theres a sale on jean marked down to only 129.99!"
Fag1:"I need to go to A&F and spend lots of money"
Fag2:"What did you say?"
Fag1:"I need to go to A&F"
Fag2:"No you didn't, what was that last part?"
Fag1:"Like whateva, girlfriend, you be trippin'"
Today A&F has 363 Abercrombie and Fitch stores,176 Abercrombie stores,249 Hollister Co. stores, 4 Ruehl 925 stores, making a tottal of 792 tottal stores across 4 brands.
Soon it will be opening 3 more Ruehl 925 stores.
Hott Chick: I know, now let's make out! PAssionatly!
Hipsters and emo fans hate it because the conformity and perceived airheaded-ness of Abercrombie shoppers reminds them of what they try to avoid becoming, but end up as anyway.
Abercrombie shoppers may not be the most original or stylish people in the world, but neither are you.
Note: I don't wear Abercrombie; I just find that bashing people's preference in clothing to be shallow and petty. Wear what you want.
"friend": "yea, i know, look at them all and their expensive clothes, i hate them because they wear them, why can't they be individuals like us...by the way, i like your black shirt and pants, they look just like mine."
Non-A&F Person: Because it's the cool thing to do.