Vintage Abercrombie & Fitch

Before the days of baggy jeans, Woods cologne, and soft-core advertising, Abercrombie & Fitch set the standard as the elite outfitter of sporting and excursion goods.  They were known for their highly expensive shotguns, fishing rods, boats, and tents.  At one time, they carried an $18K gold and onyx chess set.  Founded in 1892 in Manhattan, Abercrombie & Fitch outfitted legendary excursions, such as Theodore Rosevelt’s safari, and Byrd’s Antarctica expedition.  Ernest Hemmingway was a loyal customer until his death in 1961.

Then came the 70s and bankruptcy, transferring ownership to Oshman’s, and eventually to The Limited, who owns the brand today.  Welcome to the mall.  What’s interesting is that a lot of brick and mortar men’s stores are aligning with the early 1900’s Abercrombie business model.  It’s not all about clothes, but about being an outfitter.  Check out Gordy & Sons (Houston), Caliber (Birmingham), Onward Reserve (11 locations), The Sporting Gent (Charlotte), Ball and Buck (Boston) and Grady Ervin (Charleston).  They are the ‘in the know’ stores that will sell you a cashmere sweater, a fly reel, and a pocket knife; a.k.a. an outfit.

With a keen eye, you can still find some of the old vintage Abercrombie & Fitch goods.  While they didn’t produce all of their stuff, they partnered with some of the world’s finest companies to sell exactly what you’d expect from a true outdoor outfitter.  Fine leather, china dishes, sporting goods, desk adornment, and cooking utensils.  Beware that you’ll pay a pretty penny, but talk about a conversation piece…wow.  Here is a pretty extensive collection of what’s good (mostly eBay):

Leather Briefcase:

Wine Dish:

Sportsman’s Jacket:

Foxy Ash Tray:

An exploding Sportsman’s Jacket…incredible:

Abercrombie & Fitch partnered with Heuer to make some highly sought after watches…here is a good example:

How’s this for an emblematic tie?

Bocce Ball Set…super cool:

A fly rod that would fit in your briefcase:

Sportsman’s Hunting Jacket:

Tea Cups:

An original cruiser:

A 17 oz. Flask…damn right:

The desk clock to put all other desk clocks to shame:

Casual Field Coat:

Stag-handled steak knives:

A (very) old Rucksack:

An extremely rare watch:

Leather Duck Door Stop:

Got any old Abercrombie & Fitch gear?  Send it my way and I’ll feature it on the post.

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  1. Nem
    12/24/2018 / 8:14 AM

    Christmas 1985 my girlfriend gave me an elephant hair bracelet from the A&F store located at Phipps Plaza in ATL.  It’s on a shelf in my home office around the neck of a soapstone warrior chief carving I got the following year in Tanzania.  I have very fond memories of the old A&F.

  2. Bradley Evans
    12/24/2018 / 10:09 AM

    Awesome post

  3. CVR
    01/04/2019 / 11:11 AM

    Love the post! One correction though. The Limited does not currently own A&F. Limited Brands (the once parent company of the now defunct Limited, now L Brands and current parent company to Victoria’s Secret, PINK, and Bath and Body Works) did at one point own them. A&F split off from Limited Brands back in the late 90’s and became an independent company, going on to launch its abercrombie, Hollister, RUEHL 925, and Gilly Hicks brands. I worked on the creative teams there for a number of years and we had an amazing archive of vintage items and catalogs to source through for inspiration. The current home office campus is a beautiful place to go to work everyday too. Set back in the woods with lakes, fire pits and lodge style buildings, it harkens back more to the brand heritage than the current perception of the brand…

  4. Justin August
    04/23/2020 / 9:46 AM

    Hi there! Awesome website. I’ve got a vintage trench parka, in overall pretty good shape besides it needing the bottom piece of the zipper replaced, and the drawstrings don’t work anymore. I don’t know if you’re looking to add to your collection or not but I’m happy to send pictures to see if you’re interested!

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