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November 17, 2008

Good Lord, I Hope SO!

...Like its more moderately priced rival American Eagle (NYSE: AEO), Abercrombie has a strong brand name status among teen shoppers. However, teens and young adults are moving away from the herd mentality where all the "cool" kids show off identical moose-branded polos.
And about time. Not to mention that I shudder at what Abercrombie has morphed in to. Ebola is old enough to remember going into Abercrombie & Fitch in South Coast Plaza when they were still expedition outfitters. The store was full of safari gear, high tech hunting/mountain climbing accessories/fly rods, A & F tomes about the sporting life and cool gadgetry for life in the bush. Mesmerizingly exotic ~ like entering another world or a 1940's black and white movie. Did you know they'd outfitted Charles Lindbergh for his 1927 trans-Atlantic flight? Or tried to trademark "Safari"? History in that name, man. (FYI: Eddie Bauer used to be as revered. At one time they were THE outfitters for all the major Himalayan expeditions and the quality was unsurpassed. I still have my circa 1972, goose-down Karakorum -40ยบ mummy bag. The label says "For the rest of your life" and they meant it.)

A & F now?

Clothing that is not made of any higher quality than any other line of clothes that is sold for what you'd usually pay for a small boat.

I couldn't find but one teeny picture of a vintage A & F "colonial" safari scene. The rest were all the new incarnation's carnally inclined crap. They're just revolting. And if more than one pre-teen (and her parental units) says "no thanks" to the pressure, that's okay by me.

No bail-out money for them, either!

Posted by tree hugging sister at November 17, 2008 05:15 PM


Yeah, Recreational Equipment, INC was the same way here in the Pacific Northwest. If you wanted QUALITY outdoor gear, that's where you went. I missed it so much that it was one of the first places I hit when I moved back here. And as a member, you'd get money back at the year, LONG before the "cash back credit cards" came into style.

Alas, they now carry more clothing than equipment. Some gear, no longer as cool. I stopped going there long ago.

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at November 17, 2008 07:19 PM

The REI store in Orange was a destination shoppping stop, Jeff. Looked like a warehouse, but the folks in there knew what they were looking for. I bought their first generation insulating/wicking longjohn tops for wearing in the hangar at Iwakuni during the winter. That wet, freezing ass wind coming off the bay was completely debilitating, but one of those shirts under my woolly pulley and field jacket kept things as toasty as could be expected.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at November 17, 2008 07:42 PM

Oh, cool, Sis! I loved their camping gear; I bought a seriously gnarly backpack with my paper route money. A friend of mine lived for their rock climbing gear (an avocation that I sampled, but never enjoyed). And for winter camping, REI was da bomb!

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at November 17, 2008 08:09 PM

I must add, the operative word being "WAS". :-(

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at November 17, 2008 08:10 PM

Abercrombie is awful overpriced junk. I think the store is designed for unsupervised affluent youth whose parents give them too much spending money for the mall. The thumping music, so loud it verges on the painful, drives away anyone with a shred of sanity or common sense. This is apparently a deliberate marketing strategy to keep away the "uncool" (i.e. aforementioned sensible and sane people).

Posted by: NJ Sue at November 18, 2008 10:26 AM

REI was THE place to get camping/hiking gear in the early 80s. Best quality and best prices. I still have nearly all of that gear and it has held up great. I had to retire the gore-tex rain jacket recently though, after 25 years of hard use. I think I got my money's worth out of that one too.

Posted by: Dave E. at November 18, 2008 11:25 AM

NJ Sue - a-yep. And what's with the huge slatted doors? It's almost like a strip club: loud techno soundtrack, no windows, lousy lighting. I've never before seen a business trying so hard to repel customers - the whole place is a giant neon "Go Away!" sign.

Posted by: nightfly at November 18, 2008 01:25 PM

It's strange. There is no REI in San Antonio, but there are two in Austin.

REI has changed a bit, but you can still find good gear there.

I never knew A&F was an outdoor gear shop. I never heard of them until suddenly everyone started advertizing for them with their shirts. I'll never understand why someone would wear advertizing like that. I'll especially never understand wearing advertizing for a store like Old Navy that specializes in crappy clothing.

Posted by: Skyler at November 18, 2008 03:25 PM

A&F used to be outdoorsy until they learned they could make money hand-over-fist by selling to the pretty popular teenagers with more money than sense.

(Didn't they also have catalogs that had, um, kind of racy nasty content? Weren't they the "thong underwear for six-year-old-girls" people?)

ALL of those stores, if they go under, deserve it. If you can't make a profit taking money from bored, over-allowanced teenagers, your business plan is totally borked.

Posted by: ricki at November 19, 2008 07:34 AM

A&F sells clothing??? Gee, from their billboards I figured they sold full body waxes for teenage boys.

Posted by: neeniebug at November 19, 2008 02:57 PM