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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Art That Is an Abercrombie Bag...

The Abercrombie & Fitch Summer 2011 shopping bag. | This image: by C.E.R. | Original Photography by Bruce Weber
There is something quite compelling about an Abercrombie & Fitch bag. Many of you even have yourselves a modest collection stashed somewhere in your rooms, or you even use them as art on the walls... Because that is what a bag from Abercrombie & Fitch is - it is art. These bags are not like the average shopping bags from other retailers. No, Abercrombie & Fitch bags are a form of art that you - the A&F customer - are privileged to walk about with...a carry-around art type of deal. We all are obsessed with the iconic FIERCE bags that the brand hands over with our purchased goodies....Walking about the shopping center with an A&F bag makes you an instant attraction! Sure, the chiseled torso of the guy has a lot to do with it, but there's more to it than that...

What is it that makes an Abercrombie bag just so visually compelling? Yes, the well defined bodies have a lot to do with it. And even if your the archetype heterosexual male who says he doesn't take interest in bags plastered with men, I know you know you're still thinking that's a cool looking bag...There is nothing wrong about a male appreciating the male form in art - modern society has attached an ignorant social stigma to it - the ancient Greeks and Romans (masterful, exemplar, and founders of western art) were champions of the male aesthetic. And as I have stated in the A&F page on this blog, Abercrombie & Fitch is the modern embodiment of this classical aesthetic. The glorification of athleticism and the male form.

Abercrombie & Fitch bags are art because they are printed with the high photographic work of Bruce Weber. This is a photographer that has a passion for the idealized human form - primarily that of the male. (If you're thinking he's gay, your obviously ignorant, and you need to reread the paragraph above). Weber can be said to be a modern incarnation of Polykleitos...now expressive in modern American romanticism. Well, Weber is a monumental photographer and his workmanship, craft, and work is highly revered in the world of photography. His search and discovery for the perfect form is powerfully commanding and beautiful expressed in his timeless and wholly iconic imagery. Weber revolutionized underwear marketing with his Calvin Klein Underwear shots; he set the perfect image for Ralph Lauren that we now associate with the brand; Vogue and numerous other establishments are patrons of his work; Abercrombie & Fitch, however, is where he seems more at home - where he is given the liberty to express his artist's love affair. Need I mention photoshoots with Bruce Weber will run you in the millions?

A month ago, I received my purchases in the official bag for Summer 2011....I began to see it - to analyze it - as an expert at the Louvre would of a David (I happen to enjoy his work very much). Well, let me assure you that I am no virgin to the studies of art. I enjoy scrutinizing a piece of work; attempting to find its meaning, what it is trying to convey to you, its meaning. Yes, I took my Summer 2011 bag simply stared at it in contemplation for the longest while....


This image illustrates the composition (by sectionalizing
the photograph) and previews the visual movement (by
means of the white arrows).
I discovered that the image can be broken down into three main sections - what makes up its composition. (Refer back to the image at the left of this paragraph while you read this). One section is dominated by the "Abercrombie & Fitch" label; this is followed up by the section enclosing the male torso; and then it leads to the section encompassing the shorts. Notice the amazing dimishiment in size from one segment to the other - from a large rectangle to a small square. Isn't that amazing?! That there are three sections may be the Rule of Odds at play: when one object of focus is complemented by two other objects. Another awe-inspiring finding is that the section with the male torso - the most prominent of the three - actually comes close to the proportions of the Golden Rectangle in following with the greater Golden Ratio! Revered by Western artists (including architects), the Golden Rectangle was even incorporated into the design of the ancient Greek Parthenon....When you attempt to produce an appealing image to stand the trials of time and space, laws of geometry (as in mathematics) arise - this is found in everything throughout nature!

The sections in the image not only show you the hidden composition of the image, but they also show you the visual movement in the photograph. Remember when I told you how mostly everyone always looks at the male torso first? Well that is their staring point in their observation. Their eyes may naturally guide from the torso, to the shorts that male model is wearing, and then their eyes will come to a stop at the "Abercrombie & Fitch" printed on the bag. The torso commands the attention when the viewer first sets eyes on the bag...then they notice the shorts and finally identify the brand. This is the visual movement - a cycle of aesthetics and a display of high-grade photography. And the overall effect is marketing at its best.

So there you go. I've finally presented to you the artistic view of an Abercrombie & Ftich bag. I myself am a "curator," you could say, to a proud and impressive collection of A&F bags. I take collecting and the their preservation very seriously. For someone to treat a bag with disrespect and for them to throw them away as garbage is simply an offense! Honestly, if you do not collect, at least have the courtesy of recycling - these are bags - millions and millions of bags - that are being produced for consumers the world over at the expense of the environment (also affecting on a global scale).

But on another note, the main reason for shopping at A&F may often times not be just for the clothes, but for the amazing feeling you get when you are handed over one of those iconic bags...Art and Sex! Abecrombie lead the way!

UPDATE (13 September 2011): I just re-read this post for the first time since I posted it, and noticed some grammar errors! I typed it up late, late at night and I guess they passed my eye! Sorry about the confusion this may have caused. I've since corrected everything. Again, sorry to those of you that read it before this update.