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Subject: The Noxious Culture of Abercrombie & Fitch

Written By: Voiceofthe70s on 04/19/22 at 10:35 am

Looks like there's a new documentary on Netflix about the evils of Abercrombie & Fitch. This article details it:

Abercrombie & Fitch was America's hottest brand. It became 'what discrimination looks like'


If you came of age sometime between the two Bush presidencies, chances are you’ve had — or still have — strong feelings about Abercrombie & Fitch, the retailer whose logo T-shirts were once ubiquitous in high-school cafeterias.

Perhaps you aspired to the brand’s narrow definition of cool. Perhaps you resented the company’s exclusionary identity. Perhaps both. But you simply couldn’t be a young person in the late 1990s and early 2000s and avoid Abercrombie.

Now, a new Netflix documentary examines the brand and its legacy, arguing that Abercrombie’s corporate culture was even more noxious than the cologne its employees dispensed with zeal at malls across the country.

“White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie” explains how the company, founded in the 1800s as a purveyor of sporting goods for elite adventurers, became the hottest label of the "TRL" era under the leadership of Chief Executive Michael Jeffries, who made billions in profits by aggressively going after the cool kids — and who once proudly declared, “A lot of people don't belong , and they can't belong.”

The strategy worked for a time, but it was unsustainable: nothing that burns white hot can last forever. Especially when the brand is built on exclusion.

he film recounts the innovations that propelled the company’s ascendance in the ‘90s, including A&F Quarterly, a racy catalog/magazine shot by famed fashion photographer Bruce Weber, and store employees who were hired because of their looks rather than their customer service skills. The Abercrombie vision flowed directly from Jeffries, who dictated every aspect of the company’s image, down to the jewelry and hairstyles worn by employees. (Dreadlocks and gold chains were forbidden.)

The company’s popularity was crystalized in the 1999 hit “Summer Girls” by the second-tier boy band LFO, which played in heavy rotation on MTV: “I like girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch,” went the chorus.

But “White Hot" also traces the controversies that ultimately turned the tide of opinion against Abercrombie and contributed to Jeffries’ ouster in 2014, including racist merchandise, allegations of discriminatory hiring practices that resulted in a landmark Supreme Court case and allegedly predatory behavior by Weber toward the company’s young male models.

"White Hot" is likely to conjure complicated emotions in the millennials who grew up under the Abercrombie influence — nostalgia for mall culture, the pre-social media era and the brands we yearned for as adolescents, tinged with disgust over the pervasive racism, misogyny and homophobia that seemed perfectly acceptable in the not-so-distant past. (Some viewers will also feel very old when malls are explained as “an online catalog that’s an actual place.”)

The documentary arrives at a moment when pop culture is caught in a Y2K time warp. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are engaged, Britney Spears is pregnant and low-rise jeans are back in style. TV has offered sympathetic portrayals of women once treated as media punching bags like Spears, Janet Jackson, Monica Lewinsky, Brittany Murphy and Pamela Anderson. “America’s Next Top Model,” a show that debuted nearly 20 years ago, has been the subject of journalistic exposes and countless outraged Twitter threads.

Pop culture was so much more hegemonic in that era — it was more of a monoculture. There were plenty of people who thought was ridiculous from the beginning, but it was the dominant culture and they weren’t going to drown that out,” said Klayman, who has spent several years thinking about this time period.

Subject: Re: The Noxious Culture of Abercrombie & Fitch

Written By: LyricBoy on 04/22/22 at 5:48 pm

I’d like to see an exposé show on the Ed Hardy line of clothing marketed to, and worn by, douche bags.  ;D

Subject: Re: The Noxious Culture of Abercrombie & Fitch

Written By: Contigo on 04/26/22 at 5:50 am

Personally I have neve purchased anything from this store, I do believe we had (or still have??) a few shops in Canada. I don't recall what level of popularity it had here but in the late 1990s and early 2000s I was occupied with a career and had a teenager at home, I didnt pay much attention to fashion (not that I really ever have :D :D )

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