The interesting history of Abercrombie & Fitch

As a rule, I find Abercrombie & Fitch an abhorrent company. Something about them always rubbed me the wrong way. Do we need to see topless models to know if we want to buy a forty dollar t-shirt? It’s elitist nonsense, in my opinion. Shopping there is like owning a Hummer in New York City – just trying to make yourself look big and impressive with no substance.

Anyway, I was reading an amazing book about the life of Theodore Roosevelt and noticed that as part of the Rough Riders uniform he created, he used materials from Brooks Brothers and Abercrombie & Fitch. I was pretty sure Brooks Brothers was around back then, and they always came off as a classy company. Discovering that A&F was around back then was pretty surprising to me. Apparently, they used to be a pretty well-known upper class store.

Courtesy of the Wikipedia page on the history of A&F:

David Abercrombie founded A&F in 1892 as an upscale sporting goods store. Forming a partnership with Ezra Fitch, the company continued to expand in the new 20th century. After Abercrombie left the company, Fitch became sole owner and ushered in the “Fitch Years” of continued success. After his retirement, the company continued under a succession of other leaders until its financial fall and closing in 1977. Limited Brands purchased the ailing brand in 1988 and brought in Mike Jeffries, who revolutionized the image of Abercrombie & Fitch to become an upscale youthful fashion retailer. Today, the company is a multi-billion dollar entity continuing to experience economic expansion through the introduction of four growing concepts and cautious international expansion into key luxury markets.

Prominent figures who patronized the company in its excursion goods days of the early 20th century include Teddy Roosevelt,[1] Amelia Earhart,[1][2] Greta Garbo,[1] Katharine Hepburn,[1] Clark Gable,[1] John Steinbeck,[3],[4] John F. Kennedy,[4] Ernest Shackleton,[5] and Dwight Eisenhower.[4]

They used to send out giant catalogs. A photo below:

Thought this was interesting and worth sharing.


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