Fashion Men

The Original Abercrombie Zombie?

Abercrombie_jeffriesBenoit Denizet-Lewis' profiles Mike Jeffries, the 61-year-old CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, in Salon and finds him living in a Frankenfashion world of his own making:

"His biggest obsession, though, is realizing his singular vision of idealized all-American youth. He wants desperately to look like his target customer (the casually flawless college kid), and in that pursuit he has aggressively transformed himself from a classically handsome man into a cartoonish physical specimen: dyed hair, perfectly white teeth, golden tan, bulging biceps, wrinkle-free face, and big, Angelina Jolie lips. But while he can't turn back the clock, he can -- and has -- done the next best thing, creating a parallel universe of beauty and exclusivity where his attractions and obsessions have made him millions, shaped modern culture's concepts of gender, masculinity and physical beauty, and made over himself and the world in his image, leaving them both just a little more bizarre than he found them."

Gawker follows up with Denizet-Lewis...

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  1. Was the issue of race brought up at all in the article, or is that asking too much? Call me a bitter old colored queen (I luv that phrase), but AF is a sad product and I really can't take anyone seriously who wears the clothes. Now be kind when you dog a brother out! :-)


    Posted by: James | Jan 24, 2006 12:44:37 PM

  2. sad!

    Posted by: thisjoeinsf | Jan 24, 2006 12:50:35 PM

  3. UMM weird....

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 24, 2006 12:59:42 PM

  4. Feh.

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 24, 2006 1:00:11 PM

  5. when i logged onto Salon this morning, that photo was the first thing i saw (it's the lead article) and i assumed that the photo was a photoshopped spoof. You know, aging one of the models from the ads in order to emphasize the disjunction between young consumers and old managers, blah blah blah.

    long story short, dude looks scary. i mean, really freaky scary. jocelyne wildenstein scary.

    and yeah, race is mentioned by the author, but Jeffries doesn't own up to it. He claims the company is more sensitive (whatever that means) and diverse. hmm.

    Posted by: whatwouldjanicedickinsondo | Jan 24, 2006 1:00:50 PM

  6. The beginning of the end for AnF?

    Eh, who cares... more of an American Eagle guy anyway ;)

    Posted by: Dan | Jan 24, 2006 1:02:11 PM

  7. Wow. That guy is terrifying.

    Posted by: matt f. | Jan 24, 2006 1:06:03 PM

  8. Funny to think that, were he not their boss, they'd probably ask him to leave their store.

    Crying shame he couldn't get that interview.

    Posted by: Dan | Jan 24, 2006 1:09:07 PM

  9. James,,,there is nothing more amusing than a bitter old colored queen on her soap box. keep it up ! (colored i love that word )

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 24, 2006 1:24:53 PM

  10. What a bitter bunch of comments.

    If being gay isn't about leading the life one chooses to lead, then what is it?

    This man is doing what he wants to do. He's made a boatload of money along the way and created something we all, apparently, have an opinion about. More power to him.

    And anyone who thinks there should be a difference between how to dress at age 20 vs how to dress at age 30 - as the author does - should consider diet and exercise.

    Posted by: alan | Jan 24, 2006 1:29:01 PM

  11. Mike,

    :-) I have a zillion soap-boxes and am more thna willing to bring them out!


    I'm glad the old racist mf has made money. Good for him, BUT do not expect my bitter colored fat ass to be all into him when his stores made sure they had no brown skinned kids working behind his counters or in his photo opps.

    As for diet exercise: can you supersize that chesseburger for me baby? :-)


    Posted by: James | Jan 24, 2006 1:36:50 PM

  12. Mike,

    :-) I have a zillion soap-boxes and am more thna willing to bring them out!


    I'm glad the old racist mf has made money. Good for him, BUT do not expect my bitter colored fat ass to be all into him when his stores made sure they had no brown skinned kids working behind his counters or in his photo opps.

    As for diet exercise: can you supersize that chesseburger for me baby? :-)


    Posted by: James | Jan 24, 2006 1:37:27 PM

  13. abercrombie who? what? people still wear that crap?

    Posted by: aka frank | Jan 24, 2006 1:39:35 PM

  14. I'm glad this was posted and glad it's being read. This guy is a freak, and he's had way too much influence.

    To the person who doesn't understand that when you're 30 you shouldn't dress like you're 20, I'm sorry. You need help.

    AnF has done more to solidify the image of the mindless, shapeless twink wearing a stupid numbered t-shirt attempting to be something he's not.

    Looking like an overgrown high schooler in fetus-sized clothing couldn't be farther from sexy.

    Now I'll take my cheeseburger too.

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 24, 2006 1:47:27 PM

  15. How is a 61-year old obsessed with superficial beauty any more laughable/pitiable than we 20-30-40 somethings obsessed with superficial beauty? Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.....

    Posted by: Jim | Jan 24, 2006 1:52:10 PM

  16. I actually feel sorry for people who bought that whole "Aberzombie" culture. Especially if it's a middle aged man in AF wear... so.. so sad. If you're over 18, it's time to shop elsewhere.

    The clothing line has never looked like much more than casual garbage; let's sell torn purposly stained jeans and charge upwards of $100 a pair. About the only thing AF ever had going for it was the homoerotic catalogs.

    I remember when AF plunged into that mode. I began laughing because it was right about the time Mel Brooks "Life Stinks" came out and some other parody about "The Dumpster Look Being In". Lo and behold, AF came out with a whole line of "dumpster-chic" clothing the next season, and has gone through the bottom of the barrel ever since.

    Claims of AF (arian) racism, homophobia and ageism only get passing press until the next catalog of pouty buff twinks hits the stores.

    So back to an earlier comment; Why bother?

    Posted by: Rad | Jan 24, 2006 1:59:26 PM

  17. If you'll permit a quote from Zoolander:

    "I give you... Derilicte!"

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 24, 2006 2:07:02 PM

  18. uhmmmmm

    the "dude" (LOL on his overuse of dude) looks like any other queen I see at every and any gay bar anywhere. guys are even worse in trying to fight off age and look younger than they are....
    hell, gay guys would be wearing the same shirt 3 sizes too small (the only difference)

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Jan 24, 2006 2:20:57 PM

  19. I love this blog, but come on Andy. You perpetuate these same sorts of stereotypes on this very blog, so who are you to cast aspersions on Abercrombie's CEO?

    Do you really expect us to believe you don't own any Abercrombie? REALLY?

    A&F may have fallen out of fashion for those without a sense of irony, but haven't you hawked these images and crowed over the catalogue in the not-too-distant past?

    Uh, pot... meet the kettle.

    Posted by: Justin | Jan 24, 2006 2:21:46 PM

  20. Justin,

    My sense of irony is in tip-top shape. And AF still stank even when my sei was in its low period.


    Posted by: James | Jan 24, 2006 2:31:27 PM

  21. If you look good nobody cares what you wear or if you wear...

    Posted by: mike | Jan 24, 2006 2:35:34 PM

  22. Alan: amen.

    I think there's an implicit urge to criticize gay men who sport (heh heh) A&F as trying to be something they're not... Which begs the question of their critics: "Who, then, am I *supposed* to be in your opinion?"

    Few would argue that those who allow themselves to be defined by armchair sociologists aren't doing too much better than those who take cues from a corporate monolith with a clever grasp on brand identity. And successful brand identities are only reflections of existing mass impulses -- marketers don't *create* needs.

    Ultimately, the clothes you should wear are the ones that make you comfortable -- and not necessarily just on the outside.

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 24, 2006 2:52:15 PM

  23. "That's why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't market to anyone other than that."


    Posted by: max | Jan 24, 2006 3:16:59 PM

  24. For the record, I love Andy and the Towleroad... but... Justin could not have said it better.

    Posted by: Rob | Jan 24, 2006 3:25:42 PM

  25. To me, he's like those guys we all knew in high school who were all star jock superheros and didn't understand that their pseudo-celebrity status ended on graduation day.

    Posted by: Dave | Jan 24, 2006 3:39:32 PM

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