Abercrombie & Fitch Announces New Inclusive Ad Campaign
RIP to the brand's hip bones and six-packs only aesthetic
Perhaps after witnessing the demise of fellow retailers like Victoria’s Secret, who built their former empires on the emaciated backs of body exclusivity, Abercrombie & Fitch is finally going body positive.
The 127-year-old retailer, which dominated the ’90s and early aughts by peddling an exclusive lifestyle via infamously racy catalogues featuring waif-like semi-nude models, just announced a new, more inclusive ad campaign, the New York Post reported.
The new Face Your Fierce ads, which will center on the brand’s fragrance lines, will reportedly feature 24 high-profile models, athletes and activists of a range of sizes and backgrounds, including LGBTQ+ icons like Megan Rapinoe, among some of the brand’s first plus-size models
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INTRODUCING: THE FIERCE FAMILY There’s no one way to be Fierce. Discover six distinct scents, all related yet all uniquely different—each represented by a member of our amazing 2020 cast. #FACEYOURFIERCE MEET THE FAMILY: Megan Rapinoe (@mrapinoe), Kyle Kuzma (@kuz), Taylor Rapp (@trapp07), Michael Robert Mccauley (@michaelrobertmccauley) and Ryan Russell (@rkrelentless) for our iconic Fierce fragrance. Adrien Dantou (@adrien.dantou), Andy Lalwani (@andylalwani), Harper Watters (@theharperwatters) and Jojo Roper (@jojoroper) for Fierce Blue. Laith Ashley (@laith_ashley), Scout Bassett (@scoutbassett), Halle Hathaway (@halle_hathaway) and Keegan Hirst (@keeganhirst) for Fierce Confidence. Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy), Maddie Brenneman (@maddiebrenneman) and the Compton Cowboys (@comptoncowboys) for Fierce Reserve. Fernando Casablancas (@thefernandoshow), Nathalie Love (@natnatlove) and Naomi Shimada (@naomishimada) for Naturally Fierce. And Leyna Bloom (@leynabloom), Georgia Fowler (@georgiafowler) and Sabina Socol (@sabinasocol) for Fierce Perfume.
“We’re moving towards a world of belonging, rather than fitting in,” Joanna Ewing, Abercrombie & Fitch’s head of creative, told the Post.
That mentality represents a sharp departure from the brand ethos former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries espoused back in 2006, when he told Salon that his brand targets “the cool-kids” as opposed to their “not-so-cool” counterparts.
“A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla,” Jeffries told Salon. “You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
By 2013, however, customers were already becoming less excited by Abercrombie’s Mean Girls approach to retail, with the brand coming under fire after a Business Insider report took them to task for not carrying women’s XL or XXL sizes.
In 2017, as competitors like American Eagle increasingly embraced body-positive sizing and advertising, Abercrombie shuttered more than a hundred stores as the brand’s share price plummeted to $11 from $54 just a few years prior.
Under new CEO Fran Horowitz, however, the brand has slowly started scrubbing away its six-packs and hip bones-only aesthetic in an attempt to avoid going the way of Victoria’s Secret.
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