Clothing brand that is marketed to college-age people, but purchased mostly by middle- and high-school students, it seems. Started in the 19th century, it was once a sporting-goods store, in the "hunting things for sport" sense. They weren't doing well in the nineties, so the new CEO decided to revitalize the company by selling stylish, preppy clothing for younger people. He thought that maybe if they sold things at crazy-high prices ($50 for a cotton t-shirt, etc.) then teens and young twenties would somehow buy the clothing because it would be "cool" if it was expensive. Or some kind of crazy reverse-psychology marketing idea. Anyway, everyone thought this was a terrible idea, but as the younger set are often easily confused by marketing ploys, the company became very successful.
Currently, A&F is hugely symbolic in American high schools - and middle schools, too. People who wear Abercrombie are often well-to-do and attractive, and so they are thought of as "popular" or "preppy." Being teenagers, they are often very possessive of their popularity and are loath to accept or be friendly with other types of kids. "Other types" means those who want to dress or act differently than the A&F children.
To those who hate it, it represents either the kind of money-squandering that they can't afford, or the frivolous and cruel social structure that they can't be a part of. A&F clothes are often cheaply made and fall apart in the wash, or are made to show lots of skin, which is disturbing when seventh-graders are amassing closetfuls of it. Basically, it's clothing that they know isn't worth the money, but that they buy because it's cool and pretty much normal to do so.
Abercrombie symbolizes affluence, coolness, stylishness, fitting it, being popular, being hott with two t's, being normal, conforming, being mindless, being careless, being without inhibition. A&F symbolizes being a young person - you don't have to worry or work or do anything except study and play and flirt and look good. For its supporters, it is innocence, and for its opponents, it is ignorance. That's why Abercrombie is so hugely controversial.
Non-AF person: Why is that Abercrombie and Fitch model shown without wearing any clothing that could possibly be an advertised Abercrombie and Fitch product? It's marketing an image that obviously doesn't even need the clothes to exist! This is the decline of intelligent human society! Why are you so dumb, that you buy these ridiculous garments only because others do? Read a newspaper! Get a job and learn the value of a dollar!
AF Person: But she looks so cool. See, the naked guy over there is hot too. My older sister/The most popular girl in my class/that model wears A&F shirts. Maybe my mom will buy me this shirt. Maybe then I can look like her. I will look so good, who cares what it costs? I mean, if everyone else buys it then it's obviously not a bad deal, right? And it's so cute, who cares if it's a little flimsy? So you, you person with the problem, you just wish you could afford this/looked like me/were cool like me, right? Of course! Yeah, I'm still cool....
Prices shown in USD.
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