Abercrombie and Fitch is a US-based clothing company that focuses on casual wear targeted at consumers between the ages of 18 and 22. While most Abercrombie and Fitch stores can be found within the United States they have recently begun opening store locations in other countries, particularly in Europe and Asia where upscale casual wear is gaining a foothold.
Abercrombie and Fitch was founded by David T. Abercrombie in 1892 as an outdoor clothing outfitter. While the company had modest success until the 1960s it faced serious financial trouble in the 70s and 80s when it was then purchased by The Limited in 1988 and rebranded as an upscale casual wear company that targeted young adults.
The rebranded Abercrombie and Fitch coined the term casual luxury as a way of describing their upscale though casual merchandise. Along with the new direction came a new advertising strategy that has incited much controversy (though has proven to be successful). Following the success of Calvin Klein advertisements, Abercrombie and Fitch made the decision to use scantily clad young adult models in suggestive positions as a way to get people into their stores and sell clothing.
Abercrombie and Fitch stores are known for their distinctive looks, sounds and even smells. This is all part of a strict corporate policy to ensure the same guest experience no matter which store the customer is visiting. Abercrombie branded cologne is sprayed on the clothing in every store to provide a uniform scent experience. Additionally, specific soundtracks and lighting levels are used to create an auditory and visual experience that is unique to Abercrombie and Fitch stores.
Though Abercrombie and Fitch is positioned as a casual brand their clothing is sometimes considered to be quite pricey considering that most of the items fall into the category of T-shirts, polo shirts, jeans and cargo pants.
Abercrombie and Fitch also has several sister stores all operating under the same corporate umbrella. These stories include Abercrombie, Hollister Co., Gilly Hicks and the now defunct Ruehl No.925. Though each brand has a distinctive look and price point it is easy to tell that all the items sold at these stores follow the same style guidelines.