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When Aaron Levine decamped to Abercrombie & Fitch from Club Monaco a couple of years back, the menswear world held its collective breath. This was, after all, the man who turned CM into a go-to resource for unstuffy, genuinely cool clothes for young guys on the rise. No mean feat. But could he overcome the cologne-infused club vibe of mid-aughts A&F and do the same there?
From: Esquire US
Turns out the anxiety was unnecessary. In short order, Levine took Abercrombie's men's collection in a whole new direction, ditching the logo-heavy approach and drawing from its extensive archives—the company launched in 1892 as an outdoor outfitter—to create something entirely fresh and eminently wearable.
Now the SVP of design for both men's and women's, Levine looked to the movie version of M*A*S*H and classic New England prep to inform the spring/summer 2017 men's collection, which we've got a first look at right here. He also threw in a little archival inspiration in the form of the 1950s sportswear found in Abercrombie's old catalogues. But this isn't just some heritage rehash—the results feel familiar, but modern, cool, and especially relevant right now. (A suede trucker jacket and a refined riff on the tracksuit are particularly impressive.)
We caught up with Levine to get a little more insight on the collection.
On choosing M*A*S*H for inspiration:
We loved the combination of prep and distressed military, and the irreverent style that the characters of MASH possessed. To us, it felt very natural and easy.
On his design approach:
We are trying to be artistic and tasteful, but also super approachable and wearable. As we have said before: Really and simply focusing on fabric, wash, fit, beautiful colour, and easy pieces.
On that suede trucker:
It looks incredible with denim and chinos—quintessentially American, with a killer fit. We love playing with different textures, patterns, and colours. So when we build out concepts, we like to create some tension across the line. That's what this piece does, and it jumps out as a result.
On reinvigorating Abercrombie & Fitch:
It's super exciting and challenging. We're passionately and relentlessly working on moving an iconic American brand into its next evolution. With that, there is always tension and pressure. But we're starting from a place of pure passion, excitement, love, and inspiration. And when you do that and follow your gut, incredible things happen.
And where it's going:
We will be the best low-key casual American brand on the planet.
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