When I asked our Site Director the last time she shopped at Abercrombie & Fitch, her immediate response was, “1999.” I laughed but agreed—I hadn’t really thought of the retailer since my stint as an Abercrombie shopgirl in 2000 when the store not only refused to sell the color black, but wouldn’t permit employees to wear it, either.
Fast forward to 2014, the year the retailer decided to say bye-bye to expensive, logo-filled clothes and attempt to step up its style game. Personally, I think they succeeded. I was browsing the site today, and was shocked at the number of well-cut floral dresses, sleek leather totes, vegan fur coats and vests, black neoprene and leather skater skirts, jacquard pants, and a soft pink tulle midi skirt that can take you straight into cocktail party season. (That’s right: I’m actually considering letting Abercrombie dress me for the holidays.)
This design revamp is likely a part of the retailer’s new strategy to cater to a slightly older, buy-now wear-now shopper, and to narrow the gap with fast fashion competitors like H&M and Zara, which pump out on-trend, affordable stuff at lightening speed. How is A+F doing this? By going logo-less, embracing trends, investing in social media, and catering to a more fashion-focused customer. The brand also has drastically reduced prices.
It’s still unclear if this new direction is helping to put the retailer back on the shopping mall leaderboard. As of last week, there were reports that sales are still heavily declining with the teen market. Combined with a CEO who constantly finds himself in hot water, it might be a while until we see Abercrombie & Fitch fall back into the good graces of American shoppers, but judging by what we see in stores now, it’s very clear the retailer has at least succeeded in moving away from its rumpled, suburban, collegiate aesthetic by embracing new, fashion forward styles. And the color black (finally.)
Check out the gallery of 25 shockingly chic finds that are a far cry from the moose-logo days of our youth.