Abercrombie & Fitch
Goes Back-to-School


Clothing catalog or pornography?

This is not a pornography site. However, the materials that may be accessed through this site may be inappropriate for those under 18 and may include content that is sexual in nature. Do not use this web site if you are under 18 unless you have permission from a parent or legal guardian. Thank-you.

There is a publication that seems drawn to controversy each quarter. Its circulation numbers (at $7 a pop with every issue nearly sold out in record time and virtually no returns to the printers) is the envy of the publishing world. Its target demographic, 18- to 22-year-olds, is amazingly loyal, ensuring continuous profits.

Upon flipping through the pages, it seems the editors must have made a mistake when they named this Spring Break edition "Bring it On..." Clearly, the catalog should have been titled "Take it Off...Take it ALL off."

The Quarterly features nude, semi-nude, and suggestively posed photographs, such as threesomes and orgies. Of the 280 page catalog, more than 120 pages represent these sexual images, while only 104 pages are actually devoted to selling clothing.

Abercrombie and Fitch model Sarah Parr is one of the few female models in the catalog who remains consistently "clothed" while frolicking through the grassy dunes of the Hamptons.

"There wasn't huge pressure for the girls to go nude, but it is quite obvious that the people who did nudes got in the catalog much more than I did," Parr told the Mirror.

Parr said she felt the pressure to photograph nude, but was unwilling to compromise her moral beliefs for exposure in the publication.

"It's your choice as a model how you want to represent yourself and your body," Parr said.

The first A&F Quarterly appeared in late 1997 or early 1998. As a marketing tool, it was an immediate success. Its mix of feature articles, pages displaying the product and page upon page of nearly naked flesh struck a chord with young people everywhere. Much like Vogue and Architectural Digest, the quarterly served as a means of aspirational (and inspirational) living for young men and women all over the country. The girls lusted after the handsome, nearly naked boys on the pages and vice versa. The male readers, in addition to lust, bought into the idea that girls would find them even more attractive if they were wearing a pair of A&F surfer shorts, and the unspoken thought that sex (yes, sex) would follow. And of course, the underlying concept of appealing to gay men wasn’t initially made clear or highlighted; but make no mistake, nothing was left to chance in mounting the rebirth of this company.

The racy catalogues stirred up controversy and has been met with great resistance. In 2001, A&F was required to prevent the sale of their catalog to minors. Precautionary efforts were taken to cover up the catalog, including shrink-wrap and graphic overlays to obstruct any front cover nudity.

In response to public criticism, A&F spokesperson Hampton Carney said the company's point of view is that, "it is beautiful fashion photography. It's clean, sexy, and we think our customers will really love it."

Abercrombie and Fitch has continued to push the envelope in successive catalogs, making it more and more risqué in an effort to captivate audiences. A&F must be doing something right if they can keep selling clothes in a magazine that doesn't have any clothes.

As Americans, we live in a time when teenagers tell pollsters they don’t consider oral sex to be any form of sex at all. This generation knows more about sex and other aspects of modern life than we will ever know in our lifetime as adults. Their curiosity for knowledge outweighs any and all fear they may have that such knowledge can be hurtful or change their lives in a negative manner. And they are stronger than we give them credit for being. Never mind the fact that their bullshit meter is carefully calibrated to strain out anything they view as phoney, overtly deceptive or self-serving. Any sane and intelligent person already knows (especially from their own life experiences) that since the dawn of time, teenagers have been projecting sexual ideals onto each other. It is part of the growing up process.

We're not for corrupting the impressionable minds of emerging teenage psyches. We strongly believe that if you do your best as a parent to pass on the values you deem important, then nothing will override that. Kids, contrary to popular opinion, retain the lessons learned early in life. Picking up the A&F Quarterly won’t corrupt their minds any more that seeing an ad from the Gap. What’s important for a parent is to have confidence in kids today and just relax and enjoy their soon-to-be empty-nest years. In the meantime, let’s protest things that truly matter like global warming, child labour laws in developing countries and the way in which our economic life is going to hell in a hand basket.

Here are some of the photos appearing in previous catalogues.
(Click on the photo for a larger version.)
What do you think? 

Source: images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper148/stills/80448u6e.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.fairfieldmirror.com/news/2003/04/03/CampusLife/Clothing.Catalog.Or.Pornography-406459.shtml&h=366&w=280&sz=71&tbnid=77zseY5KHUIJ:&tbnh=117&tbnw=90&start=49&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2522Abercrombie%2B%2526%2BFitch%2522%26start%3D40%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DN

A&F Guys - images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://david.hauslaib.com/pics/0abercrombie_and_fitch_guys/29_tn.jpg&imgrefurl=http://david.hauslaib.com/pics/0abercrombie_and_fitch_guys/&h=146&w=168&sz=15&tbnid=dM3Rt-NzZZUJ:&tbnh=80&tbnw=92&start=50&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2522Abercrombie%2B%2526%2BFitch%2522%26start%3D40%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DN

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