The failings of Abercrombie & Fitch, have been well-documented on this platform, and with good reason. An out-of-touch CEO coupled with poor business practices—not to mention corny, poorly designed merchandise—and the brand was due for a serious shakeup. But when Aaron Levine, formerly directing menswear over at J.Crew rival Club Monaco, was confirmed to be a new addition to the A&F design team, there was hope that Abercrombie & Fitch might (just maybe) be cool again.
But it's not just Levine that's adding his talents to the A&F roster. The mall brand has added a string of fresh faces to help kick start the label out of its publicized slump—and into an age where it can compete for teens (and likely adults) closet space.
For a refresher on what Levine's new role will be, he'll be heading up men's design for A&F, along with Kurt Hoffman, who will be coming on as General Manager for Abercrombie & Fitch Men's. Hoffman's resume includes some very recognizable brands, with a specialty in reviving and introducing labels. He helped Ralph Lauren re-launch RRL, and helped open up J.Crew's "Men's Shop" concept—found in both malls and specialized boutiques.
But it's not just the guys that are getting a little love via new design direction. Kristina Szasz—formerly Design Director for Denim at Karl Lagerfeld and Tommy Hilfiger (along with stints at Ralph Lauren, Nike, and Lee)—will be taking on the role of head designer for A&F Women's. Stacie Beaver, will be assuming the role as General Manager for A&F Women's. Beaver is effectively an "inside hire," with much of her resume built through 15 years of work under the A&F and Hollister brand umbrella.
While its speculation at this point, on the men's side there's a definite skew towards hiring names that have experience with the aesthetics that have come to define American brands like J.Crew and today's Ralph Lauren. Does this mean that Abercrombie & Fitch is finally on the path to fashion righteousness? Only time will tell.