Abercrombie and Fitch

Abercrombie and Fitch

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Abercrombie and Fitch

Abercrombie and Fitch was initially started in 1892 by David T. Abercrombie. An outdoorsman himself, Abercrombie wanted to create a clothing line that was suitable for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and hunting. Ezra Fitch, a lover of the Abercrombie clothing line, decided to become a partner in the company, this making what we know today as Abercrombie & Fitch. This partnership began in 1900 and subsequently ended in 1907 when David Abercrombie resigned from the company due to personal differences. The company proved to be a success and had much interest in expanding their company in order to draw in more business. The first major executive decision came shortly after Abercrombie’s resignation. The A&F catalogue was a cross between a clothing magazine and a guide to the outdoors. It gave information and advice to campers, hunters and fishers and also simultaneously provided a wardrobe for these activities. This catalogue increased both sales and notoriety. It brought Abercrombie and Fitch to people all around the world. Unfortunately, success was not everlasting. The company endured very tough financial times during the early 1960’s and 70’s and eventually declared bankruptcy in 1977. In 1988, success came again when The Limited Inc. bought Abercrombie and Fitch. Abercrombie is now a 223.0 million dollar corporation.
In a second attempt to further expand the company horizons, an e-commerce site was created. This site is interesting because its main focus is not the clothing but the “lifestyle”. Upon entering the Abercrombie and Fitch website, the first thing the consumer sees is a half naked man, sprawled on the ground, eating a plate full of fruit. It is just to be inferred that he is wearing Abercrombie and Fitch clothing. This just shows how the image of Abercrombie is much more important than the clothing itself. The site itself is bright and summery. The attitude is carefree, active and sexy. Maneuvering ones way around this website is relatively easy. The links include Lifestyle, A&F TV, A&F Quarterly (the magazine/catalogue), Company, and Shop A&F. Other links include, music, movies, downloads, postcards, photos, and “hot” sites. The website seems to be almost completely focused on drawing the consumer into the lifestyle of Abercrombie and Fitch. The information the company gives is very limited. For example, throughout the entire website, there is not one mention of a company mission statement, yet there is a plethora of information about the company’s financial standings.

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The goals and focus of this company are never clearly identified except for the statement in the company history section about the initial clothing being made for active purposes. The goal for the clothing was to be comfortable and practical. Now, that goal has been altered to sell the image of Abercrombie instead of the practicality of its clothing.
The main theme throughout the website is sex. This theme carries thought the entire company. The advertisements depict beautiful, thin, sexy men and women, partaking in “everyday” activities such a canoeing, skiing, hiking, etc. These activities however are not so “everyday” for people living in larger cities so the appeal for them is the “sexual comfort”. The term sexual comfort is used to describe the way the clothes are both comfortable and sexy at the same time. This proves successful for the average person who doesn’t want to wear revealing or tight clothing in order to feel and look sexy. The strange aspect of it is that the clothes are supposed to be sensible and suitable for these outdoor activities yet the girls are all hiking in skirts and sandals and the guys in nothing more than shorts. It seems a bit unorthodox. The idea that sex sells is ever-present when viewing this website.
The Abercrombie and Fitch e-commerce website is essential ineffective because its focus is not the actual clothing but the people wearing them. The company itself has established no social responsibility programs in order to benefit their communities and gives the impression that the company attitude is laid back and not extremely concerned with who the consumers are and what they want. All advertising is for major clothing companies, specifically Abercrombie and Fitch, is just a website or a magazine throwing out images of beautiful, happy , active people and competing to see how many people they can get to conform to those images. It a sad way to market clothing because it draws on peoples insecurities in order to sell clothing. People go shopping with the thought that if they buy a certain companies clothes they will automatically be more attractive.
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