How Abercrombie Became Cool Again

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From the 80’s to 2000’s, Abercrombie was the prom king of American fashion - the cool and preppy brand of choice for teens and young adults. You couldn’t miss when someone was wearing Abercrombie. While wearing Abercrombie was a statement, going into Abercrombie was an adventure. To impressionable adolescents, Abercrombie stores were uniquely alluring with dim lighting, musky cologne, blaring music, and floor-to-ceiling wallpapers of sculpted men.

Yet as the shopping mall died, e-commerce grew, social media helped widen perspective and styles, competition intensified with fast fashion like Uniqlo, ZARA, H&M, Forever 21 and athleisure like Lululemon, Athleta, Nike entering the scene. Controversial statements from the CEO only reinforced the perception of Abercrombie as an outdated, exclusionary, over-sexualized brand built on teenage-angst. In less than a decade, Abercrombie went out-of-style.

The PR crisis, widespread disapproval, and declining consumer popularity had many predicting the death of Abercrombie. Yet instead of succumbing to what would be a fatal strike for any company, Abercrombie has reinvented itself to record success - reaching levels of income and profits that the company has not experienced since 2012. In this episode, we’ll break down the business mistakes that led to the company's initial downfall and cover the winning strategy that has made Abercrombie cool once again.

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