Seems that Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t recession-proof either, as kids (and parents) are turning to ‘like’ brands at a price, and newer streetwear & fashion brands for more up-to-date looks. The Bruce Weber homoerotic photography and overpowering scents pumped through the store may have finally played itself out too. The store environment was so overdone it felt like a gay club, and Jeffries was stuck on an aesthetic that never evolved– it seems to have finally stagnated.
In terms of product & presentation, A&F is the epitome of a one trick pony with little innovation in product or presentation over the years– and the pony ride just might be over. Someone I knew used to say– “when you’re coasting, you’re actually going downhill,” and this seems to be the case with A&F–they’ve coasted for too long. American Eagle, Aeropostale, etc. are now eating their lunch as the kid who fell in love with A&F years ago has moved on, and the new kid has either traded down or is more forward.
Either way, they’re failing to see what all the fuss is about. Ironically, Hollister may also have added to the downfall through cannibalization– as the two brands are fairly interchangeable, with Hollister being sharper on price. A good recession exposes all your weaknesses, and A& F is feeling it hard.