Today’s challenging economic times (read: recession) have provided a lot of us with a much needed wake-up call in terms of living within our means. I personally know people that have proactively downsized their homes, sold-off their boats, motorcycles, extra cars, etc., all in efforts to give themselves a cushion should financial hardship hit– if it hasn’t hit already. Families are eating in more, packing school lunches for their kids, thrifting, and sharing hand-me-downs. In dual-income homes, folks are making hard life adjustments (out of necessity in a lot of cases) should one of them lose their job.
In short, we are re-learning (the hard way, in a lot of cases) the security and peace of mind that comes from frugality and just plain ol’ good sense. We all (definitely myself included) would benefit from learning to appreciate what we have, and not be constantly looking over our shoulder at who’s pulling up at the stoplight in a faster, better whatever. We have this sick need for immediate gratification, and are constantly allowing our homes, possessions and beliefs to be devalued by the influence of the media, advertising, peer pressure, etc, We need to put our big-girl panties on and find our confidence in who we are, what we believe, and what we stand for– not in our stuff. We can’t let our stuff define us, or we have no foundation or substance to our lives.
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.
I got a note today from a designer friend that’s in the same boat as me– looking for the next gig. Her words echo my sentiments exactly and are hard to improve upon–
how’s it going?
I’m still searching for “the needle in the haystack” while considering how to re-invent myself.
I think reinvention is the key thing, that and being able to take half the salary I had before,
these are new times and I’m not sure it’s just the strongest that will survive, maybe the most flexible?
the AIG thing makes me mad…..
A friend and I were discussing this movie (Network) the other day and how chillingly appropriate it is for now?
It’s not fashion, but…what is happening and when are we going to do something?
I’m thinking about the waste in our industry and what I can do with it.
Clerks at Filene's Department Store's Bargain Basement preparing to admit customers for a sale on men's suits and topcoats. --Boston, MA 1949
Retailers and vendors are responding quickly in anticipation of the consumers tighter spending habits and are dropping initial retail prices by up to 30%. We should start to see the adjustment for next Fall. Spring/Summer selling remains to be seen– will people spend a little to pull themselves out of the slump and brighten up their wardrobes? Or will it continue to be about holding out for markdowns, and last year’s closet rehash?