Monday, 14 April 2008

Abercrombie & Fitch relaunches controversial Mag

Popular American clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch is looking overseas to help it grow sales. The company has slowly been moving outside its US borders, opening its first store in the UK a year ago.

The company's also been broadening its reach, and now operates 5 distinct retail brands... the original Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie (the kids version), Hollister Co. (Southern California-inspired teen brand), RUEHL No.925 (upscale brand aimed at the post-collegiate upper middle class), and Gilly Hicks (women's lingere).

Things have been busy at Abercrombie & Fitch's flagship European store in Burlington Gardens, London, for the UK-only relaunch of the company's infamous A&F Quarterly, which is selling for the very premium price of £100.
The combo A&F catalogue/magazine ("magalogue") includes photos by Bruce Weber, plus articles by Tyler Brule (founder of Wallpaper magazine) and artwork by Mark Beard.

The new 200-page Quarterly - Return to Paradise - features a similar range of semi-naked attractive young models that caused the controversial catalogue to be "discontinued" in the United States in 2003.

The limited edition hardback (1000 copies, with a hard collectors case) will be sold to customers over the age of 18, and includes articles on "travel, dining, and trendy neighbourhoods".

The original A&F Quarterly was published from 1997 to Christmas 2003 in the United States, but was criticised by family groups and politicians as being "semi-pornographic" with "overt sexual content", including articles on drinking games and sex-tips.
Critics promoted a boycott of the clothing chain, and some US states threatened legal action about what they saw as explicit content being distributed to minors.

The popular catalogues featured tips for oral sex, plus images of group sex and nude young adults frolicking in the great outdoors.

Readers were told that "going down at the movies is acceptable, just so long as you do not disturb those around you" ;-) Abercrombie & Fitch say they're not planning to reintroduce the publication in the US.

The Quarterly's relaunch comes as Abercombie & Fitch reveals first year sales in the UK of around £50 million, made up evenly of London retail sales and online purchases. A&F bosses say their UK website accounted for between 20-30% of the company's total web sales.

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