This one was also reported by the BBC in the UK and ignited a fire…Allegations of sexual assault against the former CEO! Light and shadow of the global apparel company “Abercrombie & Fitch | FRIDAY DIGITAL

This one was also reported by the BBC in the UK and ignited a fire…Allegations of sexual assault against the former CEO! Light and shadow of the global apparel company “Abercrombie & Fitch

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In the past, his comment “I don’t want fat people to wear it” has caused controversy

On the 5th of this month, the BBC in the UK reported, “The former CEO of US apparel giant Abercrombie & Fitch and his British partner allegedly held sex events around the world and sexually exploited several men.

The former CEO had said in ’06 that he did not want fat people to wear (Abercrombie clothes),” and seven years later, in ’13, this statement was rehashed and widely criticized in the United States.

The uproar caused Abercrombie & Fitch to see a shadow over its performance after ’13, but with the arrival of a new CEO in ’17, the company’s performance in North America began to recover, and the company upwardly revised its forecast for ’24. The company has been completely redeemed over the past six years. Although the company may have redeemed itself over the past six years, reports of a new sexual scandal involving the former CEO have cast a cloud over the company’s ability to realize its upwardly revised earnings forecast.

An advertising photo taken by Bruce Webber, the official photographer of Abercrombie and Fitch at the time, which, according to a BBC report, hinted at the possibility of being used as an advertising model if one participated in a sex event (PHOTO: AFLO).

Landing in Japan, where huge lines were the talk of the town.

On the other hand, in Japan, although the brand made a full-fledged landing in Ginza, Tokyo, in 2009, it has been in a state of floundering, and the Fukuoka store, which opened later, withdrew from the market in 2008, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Looking at the trends in the Japanese market as of 2011, there is little sign of a short-term revival in Abercrombie’s popularity. In this issue, we would like to consider why “Abercrombie”, once a very popular brand in Japan from the late ’90s to the mid-’00s, has fallen into the doldrums after landing in Japan in earnest.

Some staff members in the stores in the U.S. are naked

Let’s take a look back at the fashion trend when the brand was once very popular in Japan. From the ’00s to the mid-’00s, when fashion was at its peak in Japan, the fashion trend was tight silhouettes. In layman’s terms, tight-fitting clothes were all the rage, and the loose-fitting silhouettes of the mid-’90s had been completely eradicated.

Abercrombie & Fitch was one of the brands supported at the time, and the macho, body-hugging silhouettes that Abercrombie & Fitch offered at the time were in line with this trend. Another reason for the popularity of the vintage style second-hand processing that had been going on since the mid-1990s was that Abercrombie & Fitch had applied this to their clothes.

Kimutaku and Hama-chan also became popular as favorite brands.

In addition, the fact that Kim Taku and other popular celebrities of the time patronized the brand made it even more popular in Japan. However, Abercrombie’s popularity actually began to decline in the late ’00s after the Lehman Shock of 2008. It was against this backdrop that we opened the Ginza store in Tokyo in 2009, when the aftermath of the Lehman Shock was still fresh in our minds.

In terms of fashion trends, tight silhouettes were still in full swing in 2009, the year Abercrombie & Fitch landed in Japan, but skinny jeans became a big boom at that time. Unlike conventional 100% cotton denim fabric, these skinny jeans are made of a stretch blend denim fabric, which gives them a different surface texture. Therefore, skinny jeans are no longer required to have a heavily used look. This would make it difficult to appreciate one of the reasons for Abercrombie’s popularity.

The first Abercrombie & Fitch store to open in Asia landed in Japan in December ’09. It is said that a long line of more than 500 people formed one hour before the store opened. Subsequently, stores were opened in Fukuoka (’10), Singapore (’11), and Hong Kong (’12) in the Asian region, but all but Tokyo have now withdrawn from the market.

And the Ginza store, which opened with a bang, was completely out of step with Japanese tastes, so contrary to the buzz it generated, it failed to catch on at all. The four reasons why the store was not well received by Japanese customers were (1) the smell of perfume that filled the store, (2) the dim lighting inside the store, (3) the music inside the store that was too loud, and (4) the macho sales staff who looked almost half-naked. According to various reports, the store’s interior design was toned down by about 25% compared to the store in the home country, but it still did not suit Japanese tastes. It is no wonder that the store did not sell well, since it was designed to suit the tastes of the Japanese people.

Next, there is the issue of price. Even in the U.S., Abercrombie is not an inexpensive brand. Of course, it has landed in Japan at a similar price range. However, the year 2009 was the peak of the fast fashion boom due to the recession caused by the Lehman Shock and the arrival of H&M in 2008, and in addition, g.u. launched 990 yen jeans and the public’s attention was focused on “cheap clothes. This was a time when the world’s attention was focused on “inexpensive clothes. Therefore, Abercrombie and Fitch, which mainly sells jeans in the 10,000 yen range, was not considered attractive. The timing of Abercrombie & Fitch’s full-fledged arrival in Japan was also unfortunate.

Abercrombie was founded in 1892 as a sporting goods store in New York. Long known as a solid upper-class store, the acquisition brought Michael Jeffries as CEO in ’92 to target early 20s. Photo taken in 1968.

GAP, Old Navy, American Eagle… American brands closing or exiting one after another.

Later, foreign fast fashion brands such as Old Navy, Forever 21, and Bershka withdrew from Japan due to poor sales, but Abercrombie & Co. remains today in small numbers.

In Japan, Abercrombie & Fitch, GAP, American Eagle (once withdrew but reappeared), and other American casual brands are not doing so well, but in the U.S., they are maintaining strong sales. Old Navy, which withdrew from Japan, is also doing well in its home country. This would suggest that Japanese consumers and North American consumers have very different tastes in clothing.

Currently, used processed jeans are becoming more popular among young people than they once were. However, I think that Abercrombie’s taste, which once emphasized sexiness, will not be well looked after by Japanese mass consumers in the future. I believe that Abercrombie & Fitch will continue as a “local brand limited to North America” along with GAP, Old Navy, and American Eagle, albeit with twists and turns.

  • Reporting and writing Mitsuhiro Minami

    Born in 1970. After graduating from college, he joined a chain of mass retail clothing stores and became a reporter for a textile trade newspaper in 1997. 2003: After retiring, he worked in public relations for a T-shirt apparel manufacturer, as a magazine editor, in sales for a large exhibition organizer, and in public relations for a fashion college. Currently, he works as a freelance textile industry writer and PR advisor.

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