For once, Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t in the spotlight for something horrible like discriminating against customers or being all-around rude. Now, it’s because Abercrombie & Fitch revealed plans on March 24 to price basic tees down to a measly $12. Hey, it’s still cheap by A&F standards.
Before any of you preppy tools get your salmon shorts twisted in a bunch, you should know that this plan is strictly business (obviously, Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t doing anything out of moral obligation). By pricing basic, labelless essentials down to affordable prices, A&F is looking to compete with stores such as H&M and Forever 21 that sell fast fashion cheaply.
Abercrombie & Fitch is essentially trying to avoid the same fate as Aéropostale, which has been struggling to stay afloat by continuing to sell its branded clothing. Unfortunately, for many retailers, the plummeting popularity of labels among teens has been a trend for the past few years. Now, teens care more about what an outfit looks like than the name printed on a t-shirt or polo. This may be a result of young millennials’ post-recession frugality, or it could be that youth fashion is permanently evolving.
To prove my theory, I consulted an expert on teen culture from the (very distant) past: my mom. Apparently, it was all about the labels back in the day. Now, it’s not who people wear, but what they wear. Personally, I don’t care where my clothes come from. If something doesn’t look like complete trash on me, I’ll wear it (I have low standards).
There’s also the question about how cool Abercrombie & Fitch is. As a company that’s been in business for over 120 years, Abercrombie & Fitch has accumulated a certain reputation. If you asked high schoolers from my hometown in suburban Minnesota what they thought of Abercrombie & Fitch, all responses would have a similar tone. They would all mention A&F’s overpriced clothing, its air of snobbery and its distinct, seemingly wash-resistant stench that lingers on all of its products. The Midwest just isn’t feeling Abercrombie & Fitch.
This topic is near and dear to me because I have personally had the unfortunate pleasure of venturing into an Abercrombie & Fitch store once (we’ve all been there). My first and only trip to Abercrombie & Fitch occurred in seventh grade, when some deep need for popularity in me was suddenly awakened. Holding my breath, I walked into the store, soon realized that paying 30 dollars for a t-shirt was ridiculous and bought two of them. I also read the whole “Twilight” series in a week in middle school, so that shows you where my good judgment stood. Ultimately, nobody noticed or cared that I was wearing an overpriced piece of fabric, because I was still just as weird as I was before I went to Abercrombie & Fitch. Sadly, even middle schoolers know not to pay attention to clothing brands.
It doesn’t look like Abercrombie & Fitch’s efforts will work, as teen-oriented outlets seem to be going down left and right — from Delia’s to Wet Seal, no company is safe. To teenage douches-in-training: I’m sorry to say this, but you’re all going to have to find a new store to pillage, because Abercrombie & Fitch is failing fast.