Abercrombie & Fitch – From Camping to Campy

Abercrombie & Fitch

I just read Mindful Digressions post about unofficially participating in the April Blogging From A to Z challenge.  I am too new to this blogging to know if this is acceptable, but I think I will give it a try as well, unofficially – of course.

When I was a kid, we would travel downtown Chicago to go shopping.  There was Lord & Taylor, Marshall Fields, I. Magnin and Saks – all really great stores.  But the most fascinating store of all, was Abercrombie & Fitch. You are probably saying to yourself, why on earth would that be an interesting store to go to?  Nobody but the most emaciated and petite types can actually shop there today (two things that I am most assuredly NOT).

Years ago Abercrombie & Fitch was a high-end camping store.  It wasn’t your normal camping store, it was a fancy camping store for only the really rich.  It carried items that weren’t for the usual or average camper. Whenever we were downtown we loved to go into the Abercrombie & Fitch store just to look, that was about all we could do.  The salespeople were always very tolerant of our visits and without fail would sincerely ask if we needed any assistance.  We would politely say “No, thank-you, but do you mind if we just take a look around?” And they of course would nod and welcome us to look and to take our time in doing so. I remember slowly strolling through the store, running my hands over the brightly colored heavy camping blankets, looking at the pocket knives and staring in awe at the martini-making kits, sparkling under the display cabinet lights.  I remember picnic baskets with wine glasses, linen napkins, plates and silverware (or cutlery as my Grandmother used to call it).  All the merchandise was so elegant and fancy, and I know my best friend and I would wonder who these people were that could afford this type of camping equipment.

Abercrombie & Fitch was opened in 1892 by two men with the last names of, you guessed it, Abercrombie and Fitch.  They believed in providing quality sporting and camping goods for the affluent types who enjoyed the outdoor life and liked to be appropriately togged and outfitted in the best.   From what I understand they were a contentious pair and didn’t always agree on how their business should be run.  The stores went through financially difficult times and in the 70s filed for bankruptcy.

The decline of Abercrombie & Fitch and what it is today almost mirrors the slide of society into depravity.  Abercrombie & Fitch is all about scantily clad teens, who are entirely too precocious for their own good.  There is no concern for quality or class, just lascivious behavior and logos.

Bring back the Abercrombie & Fitch of my childhood, please.

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