The Window Watcher: Dorothy Draper Edition
The Window Watcher: Once Upon A Handbag

What, No Drink Tickets?: Abercrombie & Fitch

Img_761 Damn, The Consumerist beat us to it. We were walking up Fifth Avenue on the same day, and got practically the same picture. The Shophound has avoided talking about the big Abercrombie & Fitch gay nightclub because, well, it’s kind of old news, and too easy of a target even for us, but, really, these sorts of shenanigans just force our hand. Oh, it’s a store? Nooooo. It’s an exercise in absurdity. America might continue to believe what they want, but any New Yorker (of any persuasion) can recognize a gay bar when it sets up shop on the corner of 56th and Fifth. Let’s count the clues…
More after the jump

Img_7511. No Windows
Abercrombie has yards and yards of wrap-around windows which they use for an expansive display of…shutters? Yep, endless rows of shutters. In classic pre-Stonewall style, the windows are covered to protect the anonymity of the patrons.

Img_7522. Doorpeople on the Sidewalk
Oh sure, they’re supposed to be called “greeters” but, really, on the sidewalk? This is really more Times Square strip club than gay bar, but still..

3. Giant Beefcake Photos
Well, these really speak for themselves.

Img_07604. Live Beefcake
As if the pictures aren’t eye-catching enough, There’s a live, ripped bare-chested model right there in the doorway, leaning against the wall just like a…street hustler?

And we’ve barely made it inside.

5. Eye-Candy Bartenders Sales Staff
And there’s so  many of them. Way more than customers. Mostly they stand around in groups of threes, folding, posing and chatting. It’s not that they are aloof, quite the contrary, but most of them seem young enough to be unaware that they could be making a lot more money modeling for Ford or Elite instead of folding jeans.
6. The Music
Loud, loud, loud dance music. Disco and pop remixes. Did we mention it was loud?
7. The Lighting
Or lack thereof. Typically, a retailer would want merchandise to be clearly visible, but not here. No, inside Abercrombie & Fitch it’s always nighttime, with low, flattering lighting, so you can look your best when you meet that special someone.
Img_07618. The Décor
The theme here is Hunting Lodge meets Manhattan Lounge, potted palms and canoes, but the finishing touch is the artwork. No, not the blown-up beefcake photos but the ersatz Thomas Eakins-style painting that runs the entire height of the central stairwell. It depicts a vintage gymnasium and, apparently, locker room with an abundance of subjects in and out of period athleticwear and, of course, underwear.
Well, what more do you need to know? You can get a good idea of the company’s interpretation of fair hiring practices from this interview in Salon with plastic surgery Frankenstein CEO Mike Jeffries. Basically it sounds like a personals ad, no trolls or fatties, lawsuits be damned! It's a publicist's nightmare. It would be embarrassing if it weren't so damn funny.


this article is phenomenal!! i work at the 5th ave store and i know all of the guys you have pictured in the article. . . i even dated the black one!!! its just too funny, i love it! you think you feel like youre in a club just walkin in?? how do you think it feels to WORK there?? i go to school and have a job in a magazine so its just a fun part time thing for the weekends but the sighs of relief heard from the employees ending their shifts may be the only thing louder than the music!!

i work for a&f in atlanta, and this article really makes the whole company seem worse than what it really is. simple solution to all of this: don't shop there if you don't like it, and stop making such a big deal about it. count how many things in this world that could be considered as an "exercise in absurdity"

To me, this store is truely unique. THERE IS NOTHING QUITE LIKE IT IN AUSTRALIA! Who wouldn't want instore entertainment aswell as external store.......WOW (need i say more)! Eye candy aside, this would be a shopping experince that would most definitely encourage a purchase.

LOL. Although I already knew almost everything about a&f stores before this article was written, it is just funny to read how a&f is trying to "be hip" without doing things that might upset the typical suburban family: Loud Music (instead of playing hip-hop/Rap/R&B), Darken Rooms (instead of releasing clothes for the Goth/Punk/Emo), Hire "All-American" People (basically those that are Hitler's Dream), and many more

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