The Abercrombie & Fitch Icon: College Athletes as Male Models

Why would any otherwise normal all-American male college student agree to be photographed frolicking nude on a beach, wrestling with other college guys or simply modeling shirtless before an unforgiving camera lens? Why? It is to be the new icon of male modeling.

Every age has its icons. Whether it be the Gibson Girls at the turn of the last century or the Vargas Girls of the World War II generation or the Arrow Shirt Men of 1950s, pop culture history is documented by the images of beauty, perfection and sexuality of the day. And, while the Pin Ups of the past were reserved for the image of feminine beauty, today college guys are having their turn.

The Abercrombie Male Model is the new gold standard of male modeling. The Abercrombie Male has transcended the four corners of product marketing and become in itself an historic artifact recording pop culture of our day. Like the statues of the perfect male form found in the ruins of Greek and Roman temples, today’s Abercrombie model is tomorrow’s history in the making.

The appeal of the Abercrombie Model is rooted in its realness. That’s because Abercrombie Models are real guys culled from college campuses around the country. You know them, you’ve hung out with them, you’ve got so drunk with them on a Friday night that you swore off alcohol for a year – or at least until next Friday night. They are in your Fraternity, in your class and in your dorm room. Abercrombie modeling is, in fact, not for the professional male model although many an Abercrombie Model has gone on to earn unfathomable success as professional male models and actors.

A&F models are not always frat boys. They are often college athletes who live a fun “fraternity” life. With the exception of notable standouts who developed a fan base like The Carlson Twins, Abercrombie often uses male models only once, allowing campus guys to go on to expanded modeling careers. Review a sampling of any A&F Quarterly or current Abercrombie New Faces and you’ll see a strong showing among athletes. Jeremy Bloom was a champion skier and football player, Abe Taylor was a wrestler and ran cross country, Jeff Popovich was a football player, Kyle Maynard got noticed because he was a wrestler and born with a congenital disorder. Jeremy Black wrestled, Warren Kenzie was a swimmer, Brad Kroenig, was a soccer standout. Charlie Scheerer was an athlete at SMU, and Josh Yetzer was a standout high school wrestler.

So, a would-be Abercrombie model would be smart to let casting directors know of their athletic prowess as well as lack of inhibition when unclothed. Athletes have always been accustom to being nude in the locker room. It is a short step for production planners to translate that comfort in the locker room with comfortableness in front of the camera. Joseph Sayers certainly got his notice by being a wrestler who posed nude for a Playgirl casting submission. Abercrombie definitely pays more than Playgirl!

Abercrombie modeling is to become an Adjective. The term Abercrombie Model is an instantly recognizable description of the perfect All American College Jock. The Abercrombie Male Model is the look, the feel, the image of the physical appearance for which all will strive. Even Hollister, the new spin-off brand name is the new target for would be aspiring high school male models.

So, why would an otherwise normal college guy run on a beach naked and wrestle with other guys in front of a camera? The answer is simple. It is to be immortalized as the new American male icon – the Abercrombie Model.

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