Abercrombie & Fitch is an American lifestyle brand that has existed in some form or another since 1892. The first store, founded by David Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch, sold high-end sporting and travel gear from its Manhattan, NY location. The company closed in 1976, but the brand was revived in 1978 by Texas reatiler Oshman's Sporting Goods, who purchased the Abercrombie & Fitch name and operated primarily as a mail order company, with boutiques in Beverly Hills, CA, Dallas, TX and New York, NY. American clothing company The Limited purchased the company name and operations in 1988, and has re-branded the company as a high-end casual luxury clothing and lifestyle brand for the youth market.
Abercrombie & Fitch today is based in Ohio and currently has more than 300 stores in the United States, with flagship stores in Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe and Asia.
The company is known for its high-quality, modern "preppy" clothing whose prices occupy the higher end of the youth retail market. Abercrombie & Fitch is also the parent company to subsidiaries abercrombie (children's clothing), Hollister Co. (more affordable clothing marketed to teens) and Gilly Hicks (the Australian women's sector of Abercrombie & Fitch which markets lingerie and women's lounge wear).
The company uses sales associates, which it refers to as "models," to market its clothing in stores. Store associates are also used for the company's provocative and controversial advertising campaigns and catalogs, which feature shirtless and semi-nude models photographed in black and white.
The appearance of Abercrombie & Fitch stores is distinct, with white molding, black louvered doors, a high-energy soundtrack and dim lighting. The Abercrombie & Fitch men's fragrance Fierce is sprayed throughout the store and on clothing, for a distinct olfactory experience while shopping.
Fierce, first introduced in 2002, is the company's best-selling fragrance considered the store's "signature." The first Abercrombie & Fitch fragrance, Woods, was launched in the 1990s, later discontinued, then brought back in 2010. The store also markets fragrances for women, and considers Perfume No. 1 to be its signature scent for women.