In a step forward in its reinvention strategy, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. on Tuesday will launch a campaign presenting a significantly revamped collection, one that executives say portrays a modern, minimalist look, higher quality, and less sexual imagery.
The campaign features model Neelam Gill, and was photographed by Dan Martensen and styled by Clare Richardson.
Officials told WWD that the new images reflect “just one example of the brand’s new mind-set.” The campaign will be posted on Abercrombie’s Web site and through social media.
Abercombie over the past several seasons has closed roughly 300 doors, continuing to winnow its store base; has formed wholesale arrangements, and has overhauled its executive team to attempt to restore the brand’s relevancy.
“With the evolution of the brand, we wanted to try something new,” Craig Brommers, senior vice president of marketing at Abercrombie, told WWD.
“We announced a number of changes a few months ago, which were based on our customer’s feedback,” Brommers said. “One of those changes was the elimination of sexualized imagery. As we evolve the brand in terms of product and marketing, making the consumer aware of these changes is important. Although we are still on a journey of change, we feel that we have made developments in our brand creative, and this shoot starring Neelam Gill has been a step forward for us.”
Brommers noted Abercrombie’s new creative directors at the helm of the men’s and women’s design teams, and said they are working on new collections.
In recent months, Abercrombie hired Kristina Szasz, formerly with Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld, as head women’s designer, and Aaron Levine, formerly with Club Monaco, as head of men’s design, as well as Monica Margerum, formerly with Kohls, as head of planning operations for A&F and abercrombie kids, and Katia Kuethe, formerly with Lucky magazine, as creative director of marketing, among other key changes.
The biggest personnel change was 11 months ago when chief executive officer Michael Jeffries left the company, after a string of monthly same-store declines and mounting evidence that Abercrombie had lost its cachet. Arthur Martinez stepped up to executive chairman after serving as non-executive chairman, and the company continues to search for a new ceo.
In the second quarter the company reported a net loss of $800,000 and a comparable sales decline of 4 percent. In 2014, the company generated $3.74 billion in sales, net income of $51.8 million, and comparable sales down 8 percent.