In Memoriam, Abercrombie & Fitch Hoodies

Let's go back for a minute, all the way back to 1999. While others were panic-stricken about Y2K and wondering how valid Prince's "Party Like it's 1999" would be in the coming decade, I was heading to the mall—Westfarms Mall in Farmington, Connecticut, to be more precise. Back then it was pretty much the only place your average lemming teen (read: everyone ages 13-19) from Avon, West Hartford, Simsbury and Farmington could go to outfit themselves correctly for the homogenous crowd of the Hartford suburbs. In fact, so successful was our mall that we had an "experimental" Abercrombie, which basically means it was legendary and housed mythical track jackets you couldn't find at a bush-league Abercrombie in, say, Michigan or some other miserable state. My adolescent years found me, and I'd venture to say, many of my peers looking at that storied Moose squarely in the face. As my hip-hop phrase slanging friends might say, "I was very much about that life."

What did an allowance laden youngster yearn for most from the overly pornographic emporium of shit? Was it the distressed denim, or perhaps the Baby Gap-esque shrunken polos? Nah chill, I was after the hoodies. If there was a hooded article of clothing in that store, I wanted it. Badly. All the popular kids wore them (the barometer of teenage consumer confidence), and they were all so fucking cool, I just had to have that shit. The first, let's call it "gateway hoodie," was red with a shield on it—extremely regal. I've always been a sucker for medieval insignia, especially when a brand bastardizes everything by throwing their name all over it. A few days in that hoodie and I was unstoppable. After a girl smiled at me from the back of a school bus (I was driving in my Jeep because, um, fuck yes) I decided I needed to invest the rest of my savings in A&F hoods so I could be popular and awesome.*

These days I've traded the cutthroat hoodie game for more worldly pursuits and spend my money on gold-dipped Cucinelli and platinum-soled McNairy's, but my love still runs deep.

By the end of my 4-year retail binge, I had about 20 of these hoodies in all shapes, sizes and colors. Rarely a day went by, regardless of the heat, that I didn't wear one of those guys. My Christmas money, birthday money and allowance disappeared at such alarming rates, that my father intervened. Ultimately, I was told that I was being irresponsible, which is true, and as a result was forced to begrudgingly part ways with my beloved hoodie collection. I was allowed to keep a couple before being deported from Connecticut to college, which is where one of the above pictures was taken. It's so weird that this was taken pre-Instagram. WHAT IS A PHOTOGRAPH?

These days I've traded the cutthroat hoodie game for more worldly pursuits and spend my money on gold-dipped Cucinelli and platinum-soled McNairy's, but my love still runs deep. Even now, when I go back to my family's house, I'm always secretly searching for the red hood, or the navy blue half-zip, or the coat of arms zip-up. Something about those nostalgic high school things just gets at you when you go back home I guess. Wherever they are, I hope they're resting comfortably next to my white Adidas, faded and holed baggy jeans and North Face fleece. I'll see you guys in heaven one day. I'm sure of it.

*I never was quite as popular and awesome in my youth as imagined I could be, but I have a lot of Twitter followers now so fuck you, high school.

John Jannuzzi is an editor living in New York. You can read his blog, Textbook, here and follow him on Twitter here.

  • Tony

    Terps!