Abercrombie & Fitch is one of the world's most famous retailers of youth casual wear.
Unlike many other brands, it positions itself as a manufacturer of exclusive and high-end products (casual luxury).
And Abercrombie & Fitch is one of the most "ancient" fashion brands. After all, the history of the company began in the 19th century. It was founded in 1892 by wealthy Scottish industrialist David T. Abercrombie and was originally called Abercrombie Co. Abercrombie was passionate about hunting, so it's no surprise that he founded a company that specialized in ammunition for hunters, fishermen and travelers. At the same time, all manufactured products belonged to the elite and expensive.
In those years, such products were not among the widespread. So it is not surprising that the company quickly found loyal fans. Such as the successful lawyer Ezra Fitch, who bought out a significant stake in the fledgling company in 1900, causing it to change its name to Abercrombie & Fitch in 1904.
And in 1907, Fitch completely bought out the company and owned it solely until 1928. The name, however, did not begin to change, the Abercrombie brand by that time was already quite well known. The reason that Abercrombie lost his share was the conflict between the partners. Fitch didn't want to be limited to just the active lifestyle, wanting to expand the business as much as possible. Abercrombie viewed the company as more of a hobby. As a result of a series of conflicts, he ceded his share to Fitch.
In 1909, the 12-story Abercrombie & Fitch department store was opened on Madison Avenue in New York - a real shopping center of that time. It sold not only sports equipment, but also board games, cameras, various clothes for men and women, and much more. There was also a shooting range and a golf school. Fitch's other idea was to create a mail-order catalog, which almost killed the fledgling company due to the financial investment it required. However, the idea paid off in the end.
The brand's fame helped the company survive the Great Depression relatively painlessly. Among its customers were such famous personalities as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, writers Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck, Admiral Richard Byrd, pilot Charles Lindbergh (famous for being the first to make a transatlantic flight), polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and many others. And in 1939, A&F was named "the biggest sporting goods store in the world."
Until the 1950s, the company expanded rapidly, opening more and more stores in various cities of the country and demonstrating huge profits for those times. But by the end of the 60s, something went wrong, a streak of failures began, which eventually led to sad consequences. In 1976, the company filed for bankruptcy. The main reason for the failure was the inability of the leadership to adapt to the changes taking place in the world. The emphasis was on prestige and exclusivity, with A&F stores focusing on obscenely expensive items like $18,000 onyx and gold chess sets. Fearing that the brand would lose its value with price cuts, the company's management refused to change anything, and this strategy led to the collapse. At the same time, younger brands were popping up all over the place, attracting visitors not with heavy prestige but with much more attractive prices.
But famous brands don't die. And in 1978, Oshman's Sporting Goods of Houston bought Abercrombie & Fitch for $1.5 million. The brand was re-established as a hunting clothing brand. The mail-order catalog began to appear again and retail stores began to open.
In 1988 the brand was sold again. This time the buyer was The Limited, a clothing chain operator based in Columbus, Ohio. The new owners gradually transferred A & F to the "youth track". A lot of money was invested in advertising, which positioned the clothes produced under this brand as a special lifestyle, as "casual luxury". Young people appreciated the offered goods and sales went up. For some time, A&F existed as a division of The Limited, but in 1998 it was decided to turn it into an independent company.
The main idea of the leadership of the new company was to attract attention. Charitable activities, provocative advertising, litigation and statements that caused a sea of \u200b\u200bcriticism - all means were good. The company has been criticized for overly sexy ads and overly revealing clothing. And more than once, all these stories have only benefited A & F - the brand has repeatedly been among the most popular among young people.
The clothes produced by the company have always been considered the most expensive in this category, often priced twice as high as those of competitors. During the economic crisis of 2008, this even led to a noticeable decline in sales. A&F management then refused to cut prices or make discounts, fearing that this could lead to a decrease in brand value. Some analysts then even said that the company was in danger of repeating the history of 1976. But this time she managed to survive.
But the company really “distinguished itself” in 2013, when the CEO of the company Michael Jeffries (Michael Jeffries) stated that the clothes they create are exclusively for beautiful people and everyone who cannot wear them is not good enough for this (in other words, too thick). Naturally, such a statement caused only negativity and a lot of discussion in the media. However, this did not change anything; plus size clothing has not yet appeared in the A & F assortment.
In addition to the main brand Abercrombie & Fitch, the company also develops several additional ones, including Hollister Co, Abercrombie Kids, as well as Wakely and Fierce - perfumes for women and men, respectively. From 2004 to 2010, the Ruehl No. 925, under which exclusive leather clothing was produced. A similar fate was with the brand of lingerie Gilly Hicks, which lasted from 2008 to 2015.