There was a time when smelling like a drunk pine tree and flashing a tiny little moose on your breast pocket was the absolute epitome of teen cool. Those days are over.
A&F announced this week that it will be working to remove its logo from its clothing offerings in North America as a way to keep up with the company’s logo-less peers and to appeal to a more frugal teen market.
The company that used to signal “rich and popular” (or “thin and attractive,” if you go by its CEO’s comments) is now seeing its sales drop thanks to cheaper, more fashionable alternatives like H&M and Forever 21.
Some folks seem to think the issue is due to reduced teen spending and the rise of non-branded, affordable fashion. However, it’s hard to believe trendy teens are building a brand-blind frontier.
After all, though their spending habits may have changed, teens — and adults — still lust over $90 Lululemon yoga pants, and wish as you might that they’d go away, $200 UGG boots are still a must for many.
A more simple explanation for the brand’s troubles?
Abercrombie & Fitch just isn’t cool anymore.
Affordable fashion chains like ASOS and Brandy Melville may be experiencing a big boom with teens, but that doesn’t mean buyers have given up on the expensive stuff. Trend-sensitive consumers will always identify status brands, and mixing investment pieces with a more affordable wardrobe is totally acceptable if not cool in its own right.
High-low fashion is hardly a new concept, but Abercrombie & Fitch most likely finds itself in the middle. It’s no longer desirable as a teen luxury brand — one to be showcased and saved for — and nowhere near the price points of the fast-fashion chains outpacing it.
The removal of the moose is an attempt to move closer to its downmarket competitors, but it’s questionable whether it will work. The company has so vocally, and for so long, positioned itself as the cool jerk brand comfortable in its own popularity, it’s hard to imagine what its future looks like now that it’s being eclipsed by the new kids in town.