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Friday, December 5, 2014

Letter from the Editor! | Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Sleigh Ride On...

#AVeryMerryAFHaul!   |   Image, C.E.R. for The Sitch on Fitch
         WITH THE SINCEREST hope that it was the same for you, I had the most awesome Thanksgiving and night that I’ve ever had. What made this one particularly perfect was that, for the first time, everything finally, miraculously, thank-god-ingly came together flawlessly – the food/courses, the people at the dinner table – from dinner and on, the night developed beautifully and I couldn’t have asked for one better...specially when annually being in charge of it all!

However – and I will be drawing some sighs for this – I did not go out shopping: I have no great personal Black Friday shopping tales to tell this time around as annually I do. First of all, businesses have been pushing the Black "Friday" (really, now?) starting times earlier and earlier – each year this decade hitherto – which now creeped into around traditional Thanksgiving dinnertime to Thursday, 6pm. Hell no. Businesses are always trying to dramatize consumerism for it every year now with opening times. Who even comes up with this crap, you know. It’s not like there’s a "Black Friday Committee" or whatever. It’s like one or so megastores decides on it and then everyone else with a storefront on the lookout for what the others are doing jumps onto it (which you can’t blame for as doing otherwise would be shooting yourself in the foot), and the whole domino effect ensues across the board. If you know how it comes to be, you let me know. It’s fun to have the post-dinner build-up-to and midnight kickoff thing as it once was; it was “Hmm, okay” and rather peculiarly interesting to have it as early as 8pm last year (it really was!), but when it hit 6pm for this year... [Throws hands in air, siderolls eyes]. It’s very much a success in blanding out both Thanksgiving dinner and Black Friday shopping. I literally couldn’t have cared less to go this year: more to the point that it’s not in my taste anymore to shift through a crowded ass store with messes of merchandise touched and thrown around by random hands, but the thing of it – the energy, amusement, and shopping in the middle of the night – will always have its certain fun to it nevertheless, and so I may just go next year.

But this particular personal way of going about it this year brought into mind the decline of instore traffic. Times are changing and there are various factors for the continuously rising levels of direct-to-consumer operations and declining store/mall traffic, but in this circumstance, why would I go out – with stores opening at 6pm and the masses storming ahead – when I can have a great time Thanksgiving night, no bother, in the comfort of my home with family and friends instead – great people, food, drink, music, laughs, fun on and about – and, literally whenever I want, just do a swift submission of what I want to buy online from my laptop or smartphone and then carry on with my night away from it all and having a good time. I did have some friends who went at 6pm, driven by curiosity, and got it done early, and my parents and sisters did head out to the stores to check stuff out though only past 9/10pm (I didn’t pay attention when they left the house). But I had great time with the friends over and then headed out on the town to drop by others’ places just amusingly enjoying ourselves. Offers on everything I wanted were the same instore and online with all merchandise available on the online store instead of the selects of store locations: why bother this year hitting up the stores – it’s a been there, done that thing anyway and nothing I can’t see on another visit – when I could just do it on the online store, get everything I want whenever I want in the night (with A&F, I got my Pine Point Trail Sherpa Lined Parka (I've been obsessed with it for its make with detail, heavy material, length/form, sherpa and fur, and great hood; the one used by Bobby in the xmas campaign), earbuds, and the branded leather wallet), and have my merchandise gift wrapped and to my doorstep and have me an awesome time fulfilling all manner of fun that night with my pals! Win, win!

But this choice has only stemmed from a recent habit I’ve gotten into. Literally, the last time I bought anything instore Abercrombie & Fitch was last Black Friday. The only time I pop in is when I happen to visit the mall either because a friend or whatever wants to go to a mall or because I need to check out how’s it looking instore. Otherwise, I’m rarely in. I only go out to the mall to get what I need and I leave. Unless I feel like strolling about and adventurous – there are times I do, times I don’t – I seriously don’t like popping into random store to store or, in a department anchor store, area to area. I know what I’m seeking, where to go, what stores, and there I only go – though I do take my time when in and, I suppose as a psychological result on that and in part of being clinically OCD, am sharply attentive to the manner of customer service: I enjoy taking my time seeing everything well that interests me, as it should be, down to what may seem the randomnest detail and interacting with associates with whatever I may need and taking in how they perform – come back out and leave. But online/mobile shopping has become more fitting for me particularly now, and that’s all I’ve been doing since this year! Everything is on the online store, and I can go ahead with everything to get done in the day – at the home office desk or running errands out on the town – and receive my stuff whenever I want (with the delivery options available, and even standard has become swifter itself) without having to make time to go to the damn mall (when I’m not working on the diverse projects and responsibilities I juggle, I feel it a great waste of my time; it’s how it is now at this stage in my life, otherwise I wanna be drinking and acting a fool, lol). If there’s a deal going on, it’s the same instore and online or exclusively online. Merchandise comes straight from the distribution center, and I can have it all delivered to me in gift wrap – what can be, some items annoyingly aren’t available for the option – every time as I like it. Click, done, carry on. I love it, and it suits me now so much. I relish checking out, pulling out that card, clicking that submit button, and having that receipt page come up on abercrombie.com with a fever of pleasure as great as it is to shop instore. I’m such a freak, lol. But seriously, and it’s Christmas Day every time!

And so that’s my ordeal in regards to that, but that isn’t to say there isn’t anything to mention else on the night.

Used to promote Black Friday with A&F, did anyone go through the #UpAllNight hashtag on, say, Instagram? Kinda clashed with Directioners’ usage of it: apart from coming across some A&F pics, you’d also get heady doses of fan-posted One Direction pics including drawings and photoshopped works of “Larry” – Louis and Harry shipped together as part of this greater phenomenon in which girls very obviously (and ostentatiously across social media) just love shipping together, kissing and more (!, Instagram, soft core?) in all manner crush male celebrities (some even amusingly encouraging it) and characters. Introduce into your lexicon "FGOG" (fantasy guy-on-guy), much apparently.

Contributor Will over in Texas was out on the town and, before going on else for drinks, hit the mall for some truly amazing footwear – a pair of beautiful, premium classic leather boots as addition to his repertoire of shoes for looks. He did step in at A&F to have a look around: heard the Playlist's fresh additions for the holidays; pleather men’s jackets at A&F (?, that's a first; priced at US$200 and not found online, mind you), oh my; and got a look at the new shopping bags, though this store was still also dishing out the Back-to-School/Fall ones as leftovers.

Back on the East Coast, Anna, 20, the eldest of my two younger sisters, surprised me in actually amassing a real great haul from A&F and wherever else she shopped. That issue with female customers the Company’s been having, right in my very family, right under my very nose (!): she had become jaded with the offerings by 2013, though has had a seemingly personal Abercrombie Renaissance in bloom buying from A&F now in a sudden surge since the summer. With all the continuous works with styles, we are getting results, indeed. I’ve been amusingly pleased with her return to enlightenment, and she’s been making me proud as she always has...I had been feeling the need to prune the family tree! My youngest sister, Michelle, amusingly shared of how typical-crowded and hot it was at Hollister and her particular amusement to have been noticing a female manager struggle to follow Anna around only to finally get to her lined up for the cashwrap – loudly trying to make herself heard to Anna she’d make a great store model, handing out the card she’d written on while conversing, and turning around to my mom, “Yeah! It’s VERY hot in here!” I myself have personally watched it happen since 2012 with this girl, Anna, or have seen her latest casting card, and it’s just very evident how real the thirst is to get real strongly representing store models. I must share, though, it’s particularly humorous to look at a guy go up to her about it – I caught the first one ever, a male assistant manager at the least or more, actually glancing over at times and later like mustering himself to bring it up to her at the cashwrap in my presence; much before, addressing her with a peculiar slight-broken thing in his voice I caught after I called him over for a changing room, and I just standing right there direct-eyeballing him (he called "sir", and I'll never forget that as was in evidence of no longer looking like a kid at A&F. :p) – or hearing about it, because it’s so transparent how the attraction is not just based on thinking solely about the store. She’s always very grateful and appreciative the numerous times it happens, but she never calls back and uses the cards as bookmarks for the latest basic girl hot read.

Michelle herself also impressed me with her purchases at A&F, and she brought home one particular item that profoundly impressed me most of her haul. It is literally one of the most impressing things I’ve ever seen worked during my near-decade time as devoted Abercrombie & Fitch patron. I was really impressed. I just can’t use the word enough, and I’m looking forward to highlighting it in a post of its own. She was also kind to think of me and brought me some festive A&F socks. She’s only just reached her mid-teens, yet now looks forward to purchasing her things at A&F for more a mature, elevated, sophisticated look that her peers. Love that girl.

And that’s basically it. I must also say that I LOVE the new Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bags. Having just seen them before in picture-form, I had discussed them with Cameron and Will a little unsure. However, seeing them finally physically, I find them absolutely beautiful in a simplistically elegant, bold way. The quality of the paper was retained, and that was my main concern. The paper, the make of the handles, the color on the exterior and the branding on running along the bottom in that eternally beautifully composed name and font – it’s beautiful. There’s no photography, but it makes up for it beautifully with its aesthetic. What began irking me this decade was the habit that gained ground of not placing in-season marketing photography on the bags. This does away with that, although the general Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bag with Bruce Weber photography is a cherished icon. But more on the new bag later, as well. I just wanted to share how much I love the new look.

Also, I want to apologize for there having been such an absence on the blog until this post. Thanksgiving week as Thanksgiving break is the general consensus for everyone basically in the country (i.e. no school, taking time off as best can, whatever, etc.), but I generally try to have things up until the Day and then publish the annual Letter in summary of events by Saturday or Monday afterwards. I actually woke up with a mild sore throat on Thanksgiving morning. Make your jokes, but seriously. But it was minute and was basically nothing throughout Thursday, and I actually didn’t even sleep ‘til by 4am maybe? There was a lot of wine. And then I woke up around 1/2pm on Friday awful...and not because of a hangover. It was just awful. Thinking about it, on absences from the blog related to sickness and not from the other work I have, it’s only ever been three at the least that I can most remember that were so f*cking bad I was bedridden (on deathbed, what felt like) for a while or missed a key day and couldn’t do ANYTHING. This wasn’t that totally bad, though, but it sufficed it keeping me down. I did get to start on and flourish new Gilly Hicks work on Sunday night that I was also very eagerly excited to place out specifically December 1, but I went to bed and then woke up finding I couldn’t get to. I’ll push to have all-new planned things up starting this weekend: this sickness has really set me back on many things.

But yeah! Now that we’ve all been well feasted and shopped (and medicated, in my case), henceforth post-Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend, the Christmas – or “whatever doesn’t offend you” (as a current A&F graphic tee humorously suggests) – season has officially arrived!

There's much fun stuff planned as we get nearer to Christmas Day, and I can't wait to make you all a part of it and of what's now, right now!, already in the works backstage for Spring 2015 (yes, indeed)! I'm so stoked for it! I love you all, my fellow Abercomrades! – The Sitch on Fitch also reached its 2 millionth all-time worldwide pageview this past November 18! – and you well know this blog only exists resolutely for you and our unyielding, absolutely-FIERCE-scented love for A&F...

As ever always in signature salute, Stay FIERCE, my friends!

C.E.R.
Editor-in-Chief
The Sitch on Fitch

P.S. I've been obsessed with the Pet Shop Boy's "More Than A Dream", replaying it over and over for days now. Just flowing. And it running through my consciousness, through the day, through the night...very much my own personal little tune right now in heart and for the holidays... "Driving through the night...just you and me... Faster than the pale moonlight, something's calling, calling, calling...calling us away...do you believe...heaven is a better place? We'll be there in a heartbeat...... I believe...we can change...we can make it more than a dream... And I believe...that we can change...it's not as strange as it might seem..."