link.png Beefcakes are off the menu: Abercrombie finally changes its policy← Back

The days of Abercrombie & Fitch’s famed beefcakes are numbered, as the fashion retailer is putting an end to the use of shirtless models as part of a new strategy.
This shift comes only after a few months after the departure of former CEO Mike Jeffries, the man responsible for creating the sexy preppy image that Abercrombie & Fitch had come to be known for. Under Jeffries’ 22-year reign, Abercrombie had grown to be hugely popular amongst teenagers particularly during the 90s. However, towards the end of his tenure, the high-street clothing retailer had seen a sharp fall in sales and a decline in profits.
Since Jeffries’ exit in December, the brand image has seen a change in direction in an attempt to appeal to customers again. On Friday the brand’s president Christos Angelides announced a new policy, which will see the end of Abercrombie & Fitch’s signature “sexualized marketing”, from the imagery used on shopping bags, to the topless, six-pack bearing male models customarily present at new store openings. 


Previously staff had been hired according to their appearance and had to comply to the brand’s ‘Look Policy’, strict dress-code guidelines that, in some cases had been deemed to be discriminatory. Under the new strategy, these rules will become much more flexible. Furthermore, sales assistants who, until now, were referred to as models, will now be called ‘brand representatives’ in a move to put the focus back on customers.
Other measures include changing the atmosphere in stores: once a defining feature, the use of fragrance, dimmed lights, and loud music is soon to be a thing of the past. 
This new, moderated look, which also applies to Abercrombie & Fitch’s sister brand Hollister, will have been fully implemented by the end of July. Only time will tell whether this branding U-turn will be enough to win back customers.