Curiosity Matters

An Exploration of Branding, Design and Cultural Trends

Does Sex Sell? A look at A&F

I've spent the last few days at my parent's house, going through all my worldly possessions and trying to get rid of things I don't use. I can proudly say I have three bags of clothing to donate on top of the two huge bags I donated a few months ago. I digress. AbercrombieCatalog2003Cover

For years, I've had two racy Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs that I've been meaning to sell on eBay but can't remember the last time I actually looked through them. One was purchased the year I graduated high school, and then next, the year I graduated college. They definitely upped the ante for the 2003 version. I flipped through them with a perspective of someone who's lived in NYC for 5 years (i.e. have seen it all) and have worked in the photo industry, etc. etc. They still shocked me even in the world of True Blood, celebrities showing their vaginas and overt sexuality everywhere. There's no question that the Bruce Weber photographs are beautiful and sexy - but seriously, are they at all appropriate given A&F's target market? This year they've brought the catalogs back. Using overt sexuality and nudity to sell clothing to teenagers just seems lazy but this doesn't surprise me considering the clothing lacks imagination as well. I have a skirt that looks exactly like one of their skirts shown on their website - except it's in a garbage bag to be donated and is Gap circa 2007. And plaid? Really? A quick google search of A&F and the banned catalog revealed that their stock fell at the end of 2003.  AbercrombieCatalog2003Flannel

So hopefully I'm not being a total hypocrite by giving ya'll a taste of what I'm talking about but let's be honest - sex sells. I'd say these are NSFW but I'm assuming all of you are out for Labor Day weekend. Here's to America! And our labor force!

I kind of wonder if Ryan McGinley didn't just flip through a A&F catalog before he went out shooting. He's got that whole - beautiful, naked people running through the woods thing going at least. If you'd like to see more of these images, (and believe me, there are more) you can purchase the catalogs via eBay here and here. The 2003 version has a lot more nudity but the 1999 version is just as beautifully shot with interviews, etc. It was hard to let them go but I need to pay for things like - oh.. Miami Ad School, a new computer, living.. you get the idea.