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The Hollywood Insider White Hot Review, Abercrombie & Fitch

Photo: ‘White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch’

The mall experience is something every teen goes through, whether it’s hanging out with friends or having your first job, the mall is a place where you discover yourself in a fashion sense. The mall experience for me made me feel insecure because I just wanted to fit in with my classmates but I felt uncomfortable in the clothes, especially in Abercrombie and Fitch. The atmosphere in that store is definitely memorable because of the smell, the loud music, and the darkness because the other mall stores were the total opposite. ‘White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch’ explores the beginning of the store and the limits they went to to be different and what led them to disaster. 

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The Beginnings of Abercrombie & Fitch

Now, I’m not going to talk about the very beginning because Abercrombie & Fitch was founded in 1892 but I’m going to start at the beginning about how Abercrombie & Fitch was the hot new thing. At the beginning of the documentary, everyone is talking about how wearing Abercrombie meant you were the coolest kid in high school, and walking into the store meant you had the confidence to shop there because you had to walk past the shirtless dudes in front of the store. The only thing I didn’t like about the documentary is that they spend the majority of the time hyping up the store because most of my memories about the store are negative. 

The former CEO Mike Jefferies directed the store towards rich white boy frat culture and prided himself in making the store alienate others who aren’t white and attractive. If you haven’t been to an Abercrombie when Jefferies was CEO, the store would only hire people who were attractive so it didn’t matter if you didn’t have any retail experience, if you were attractive it was an immediate hire. The store managers would rate the workers based on attractiveness and if they knew Jefferies was going to visit the store, the most attractive people would be working that day. However, this was brushed under the rug because it was an unsaid thing about the store and it only got brought to light when POC was told they couldn’t be hired because of their race. I feel like they could’ve jumped to this point off the bat instead of praising that the store was basically a club for the privileged white people.

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I also understand that this is about the rise and fall of the store; however, I would have enjoyed the documentary more if it spent less time showing the rise of Abercrombie. For example, I enjoyed how they explained how they would get customers into the store by having shades block the windows, to make customers curious. But I didn’t enjoy that they praised Jefferies and called him a genius for caring about the “details” of the store. To me, a Black woman, the documentary came off as tone-deaf because it was blatant that the store was discriminatory from the beginning. 

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The Ending of Abercrombie & Fitch

The second half of the documentary was the most interesting because it gets into the lawsuits that the store faced and they get into detail about what POC experienced during interviews or working at Abercrombie. However, the documentary felt like they were repeating themselves when talking about the racial discrimination because it didn’t feel like it deep kept secret that the store was discriminatory towards POC. Also, the documentary throws in that the photographer Bruce Weber was accused by male models of sexual misconduct and assault but it feels out of place because it throws off the focus of the lawsuit. If the documentary was split into parts, like one part focusing on the rise, the second focusing on racial discriminatory, the third focusing on sexual misconduct, and the fourth, what the brand now is today would’ve made the doc feel more complete. 

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I was initially shocked that the documentary was only an hour-long because most Netflix documentaries are multiple parts and they are in-depth and that’s what makes Netflix’s documentaries so good. However, this documentary is not in-depth so it bothers me that they don’t go into detail about certain parts because I want more and they don’t give me more. This also felt like a YouTube documentary because it was so short and I already knew about the topic so I wasn’t learning anything new. 

A Sequel Will Make It Better 

In conclusion, this documentary was alright, it could’ve been better if it was extended and if it went into more detail on certain parts. I also would like if we got more information about the former CEO and where he went after he resigned in 2014, I think it would be a great sequel documentary if they went the route of doing an investigation-style documentary about him. However, I think if you like documentaries and are interested in the rise and fall of Abercrombie & Fitch then you should check out it but if you’re more into true crime style docs then I don’t recommend it. Overall, I give this documentary a five Abercrombie jeans out of ten.

By Ayana Hamilton

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I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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