Abercrombie & Fitch’s New Ideal Customers: Grad Students

Abercrombie & Fitch has been on a roller coaster of late, working to find its footing in a retail landscape that’s rapidly shifting and with a teen audience that’s getting much more fickle (they care a lot more about keeping up with the latest tech trends than splurging on clothes). The brand has done the design switches, like allowing black on its shelves for the first time, and the corporate shakeup, removing Mike Jeffries from the CEO role. The latest round of strategic moves? Rethinking who the brand is trying to reach.


“The Abercrombie brand can travel a bit up the age scale. [It’s] less able to be a true teen brand,” Arthur C. Martinez, chairman of Abercrombie & Fitch Co., told WWD, explaining that the ideal customers are college and graduate students, though “not to the mid-30s necessarily.”

“We are creating a new positioning and new imagery to target the customer,” he said, noting changes would be fully apparent in the fall. A tour through the offerings on its website already show clothing noticeably different than what you might remember from high school. The jeans and cutoffs are widely the same, but shirts feel as if they’re paying closer attention to trends that came down the runway (Martinez reported that bottoms have consistently performed well, while “fashion tops” is the sector that struggles).


This halter crop top, paired with high-waisted trousers, is the sort of chic outfit you’d spot on a street-style star roaming fashion week—in other words, the furthest thing from a hugely logoed baby tee.

Oh, and regarding those logos: They’re coming back. Kind of.

“The logo will be subtle and less visible. It won’t be splashed across the chest,” Martinez said, telling WWD that the company “overreacted” with its earlier decisions to move away from the look. “Logo product has an important place across the company.”

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