I’ve been having a recurring dream about Abercrombie and Fitch. In the dream, I’m only looking. Why do I suddenly hear Jim Morrison howling? I step over the threshold from the bright, white shopping mall into a cavern selling an objective lifestyle of tool-ness. "This is the End. My only friend, the end." The pounding bass from electronic music ushers me into a store with the ambiance of both a bathhouse and an opium den.
When I’m actually inside I get confused, probably due to the mist of the cologne. And I ask: What kind of people would pay or even visit such a store?
Like Starbucks, I have a problem with the way this company markets itself, and I find the logic of their marketing and pricing flawed. Morgan Spurlock should do a 30 Days on Abercrombie and wear an A&F ensemble for 30 straight days. I’d watch that. Anyway, here’s a short list of A&F’s indiscretions.
5. Price tag is too high. I won’t purchase a pair of pants over $50, and shirts more than $40. So, how about that $89 for a pair of pants with pre-worn-out cuts and dirt? Yes, why not pay top-dollar for clothes that look like fugitives wore them as they jumped from boxcars into swamps? If you want to make your jeans look worn, maybe do some real work in them. Or you know, wear them.
4. Pictures of shirtless men and nearly naked women on horses. If I see another "male model" in a black and white picture with that goofy expression plastered on his face, I’m going to punch someone. Are we supposed to believe that once donning that overpriced stonewashed pair of jeans, we’ll magically look like the fairly homosexual looking males frolicking about in the picture? Or, if a female, we'll somehow score a man like that? And what's with the horse thing? Are horses sexy now?
3. The mist of cologne and perfume that is pumped through the store. Why does it smell like someone detonated an Axe Body Spray bomb in the A&F? The smell comes seeping out the doorway and nearly knocks you out; scents with the names like “SEX,” “LUST” and “PASSION.” I’m sure the creators have truly captured the essence of those feelings, but change it up a bit. How about the smell of warm cinnamon and nutmeg? Or, better yet, linen?
2. Just plain stupid products. Shirts for females that read: “Who needs brains when you have these?", "Will work for parties!” and "I had a nightmare I was a brunette." Suffragists? Isn’t that a Ramones song or something?
1. Unoriginality. Can we please dress ourselves? Every time I’ve actually gone into an A&F, I’m immediately pounced upon and asked to try their new blah de blah style denim. “Aw, honey, you’re petite, we’ve got a new inseam that I think would fit you just perfectly! Plus they‘re really popular right now.” I’d prefer to think most people like what they do because of their own opinions, but then again, this is pop culture. My future child will dress in non-matching socks, inside out shirts and two different shoes if it means he or she can differentiate between their likes and dislikes.
Back to my dream, and the last thing I remember: The demonic sound of techno music as a girl binds my wrists to a clothes rack. "Don't worry," she says, as migraine and music sync, reverberating through my skull. "I used to work at Spencer's Gifts." Jim Morrison's disorienting howls: "Kill! Kill! Kill!"