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Monday, February 21, 2011

Kidding Around the Label

To "kids" or not to kids," that is the question...
Esteeped in classic cool, the childrenswear version of Abercrombie & Fitch has been marketed as "abercrombie" since its launch back in 1998. The brand has been conventionally refered to as "abercrombie kids" merely to avoid confusion do to the fact that A&F is simply referenced to as "Abercrombie" (also for conventional reasons).

In type: "Abercrombie" means A&F and "abercrombie" means abercrombie. But lowercase is not identifiable in speech so that there is a confusion. For example: "I went shopping at abercrombie." Where? Abercrombie, Abercrombie or abercrombie, abercrombie? On wikipedia a while ago, one editor changed the name of the abercrombie kids article to "Abercrombie & Fitch kids," and it was quickly dealt with thanks to me. And on wikipedia, I have never referred to A&F as simply "Abercrombie" because that just creates teh aformentioned confusion. Abercrombie & Fitch though about actually alleviating the issue by revamping the label to include "kids." This has messed with the tradition and aesthetic appeal of the label, and we'll explore why:

The original "abercrombie" label.
The advertised, single form of "abercrombie" (lowercase and navy) is aesthetically appealing and utterly attractive. The alphabetic construction of the lowercase name creates a near-symetrical illusion to the eye. And therein lies the beauty of the label, its near perfect symetry.

The recent alternation to the once perfect label
Recently, however, the Company has begun to mess with the perfection of the iconic label by adding "kids" to it. The addition of "kids" was begun in Christmas 2009 as "abercrombie kids" appeared in red and bold for the holidays. The alternation has been used continuously since. Poof. Gone is the near-symetry and with it one of the most appealing labels in the industry. It has become extremely frustrating these past few seasons as the Company continues to settle for the conventional instead of for the aspirational - first, the recycled marketing and now this - with the conventional as being able to designate the difference between Abercrombie and abercrombie. The addition is not, to say, horrible, because it actually looks pretty damn nice anyway. But the point is that it is an unnecessary addtion. The new web look of abercrombiekids.com prominently features "abercrombie kids" as the official label.

There is another version of the label that includes "kids," but in a mininized and appropriate proportion. The formulation of this particular stylized version of the label was done to mimic that of the new symetrical Abercrombie & Fitch version. This label (right image )is used on clothing and also sporatically when advertizing.

More to the point, kids do not want to be told that they are "kids"! Am I right, or am I right?