Teens Unite In Protest Of Abercrombie & Fitch's Fierce Stench

With the exception of the news that Abercrombie & Fitch would soon be closing 60 retail outlets in the U.S., I hadn’t heard much about the store since that wonderful LFO hit from 1999. But last week, a group of angered teens gathered outside an A&F in California to protest the store’s apparently incessant spraying of its Fierce brand scent, which they claim is both noxious and obnoxious.

Carrying posters like the one seen here and signs with slogans like “A&F Fierce Is Toxic” and “A&F Fierce Damages Sperm Count,” the group, called Teens Turning Green, cite a recent study that claims Fierce contains:
*11 chemicals not listed on the label.
*8 sensitizing chemicals associated with allergic reactions such as asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis.
*Diethyl phthalate – a chemical linked in recent human studies to sperm damage in adult men, abnormal reproductive development in baby boys, and behavioral problems in children.

According to the protesters’ site, on a daily basis, “A & F requires staff to repeatedly spray Fierce in the store’s dressing rooms, retail space, on the clothing, and from ceiling sprayers that blow the spray outside the stores into the commons.”

Perfume Protest: Teens Storm ‘Toxic’ Abercrombie & Fitch [Time.com via Racked]


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  1. jason in boston says:

    I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch…

  2. majortom1981 says:

    I get close to sick Everytime i pass the store in the mall. I hate that smell.

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    A&F is just marking its territory. Plus, it helps the rest of us. Winter is coming so soon, everyone is going to be wearing coats. How else are we supposed to spot A&F shoppers if their coats say “mom bought me this at JC Penney” but their flimsy and holey jeans say Abercrombie & Fitch? By the smell, that’s how.

    • jason in boston says:

      I agree that the cologne really needs to stop. It really is overpowering.

      Bu, I think that the quality (of the Mens side anyways) of the clothing is some of the best. Just going through my closet, I have more 2+ year old abercrombie shirts + jeans than anything else combined. They just seem to last the longest / higher quality. Hell, I still have jeans from high school that are still okay.

      • bsh0544 says:

        2 years is not very long for clothes to last. I think your standard is off.

        • guroth says:


        • dangerp says:

          Agreed. A solid pair of jeans should barely be showing any wear at all after 2 years, and still be presentable after 5, even with heavy use. Of course, this isn’t the case with the pre-distressed jeans. Those are just dumb and wear out pretty quick. I’ve also had pretty good luck with t-shirts lasting 4 years or more.

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        You’re impressed by two years on Jeans…? Unless you are exceptionally rough on jeans they should last 5 years bare minimum.

        • jason in boston says:

          Without taking into effect stains (those are from me being clumsy), yes. I usually wear jeans to work and class every day. I also go off roading in the jeep and either wear jeans or BDUs, so I might be a little rougher than most.

          Without the creeper alarm going off, the reason I don’t wear Gap or A&E jeans anymore is that the crotch material between the legs that rubs when you walk wears out much faster. I have also seen this happen to some of the “cheap” wool suit pants I have owned.

          • Conformist138 says:

            Um… I have had pairs of Gap jeans going on 10 years now. Granted, I didn’t wear them the entire 10 years, but 4 years of high school, plus now over a year I’ve fit into them again. So, 5 years of wear plus 5 years of storage and the only damage is some fraying at the heel.

            I have an inexpensive t-shirt from my Jr High marching band that somehow has always fit (it’s a magical shirt, no matter how big I got, that damn thing was never too small) and it’s still in wonderful condition. No holes, the design is still perfectly legible, and the material isn’t worn down to wafer-thin tissue. That shirt is officially 13+ years old now and was never put in storage (yeah, I still wear it like a badge of geeky honor). I expect I will still be able to wear that shirt in 5-10 years.

            Seriously, there are pairs of Levi’s around that are over 50 years old and still appear wearable, even if they are a tad scruffy around the edges. Two years is absolutely nothing to be proud of for a quality piece of denim clothing.

            • colorfulRhyme says:

              I went from working at AE to now working at GAP. It’s amazing the difference in quality between the two, this coming from a girl who has worn mainly AE jeans for 5 years now… I got 4 years out of my first pair, and I only had to throw them out when I fell down a hill and got a huge rip right next to my butt.

              but GAP? the quality is amazing. Immediate difference. That extra money you pay is worth it.

          • misterkisses says:

            Not to go off topic here, but suit pants wearing out between the legs is not an indication of cheap pants. Nicer, higher thread count material is also more delicate. A low thread count material will have thicker yarns and be more durable, but less luxurious to the touch and and less breathable. Also I can’t imagine this happening if the pants are lined to the knee, which they should be.

        • Brian Cooks says:

          Yeah I have a pair of jeans my little sister bought me when she was still in high school. They’re like 10 years old and JUST starting to thin a little, I expect to get another 2 years out of them.

  4. dulcinea47 says:

    Good for these kids. It won’t do any good, but that stuff is super noxious and just about gives me an instant migraine. If they want to have it in their store, that’s fine, but keep the doors shut so everyone else doesn’t have to smell it.

    Now we just need to protest people who wear way too much of it in real life.

    • sublight says:

      They recently opened a shop in the middle of the Ginza district in Tokyo and instantly started pissing off everyone in the neighborhood with their spraying. They pump so much of it into the air around their store that I could smell them from two blocks away and across the street. My heart goes out to the poor people who actually work next door to that stench all day.

  5. Costner says:

    I more offended that they charge $120 for a pair of jeans made in the same factory and by the same workers as the $12 jeans sold at Walmart than I am by the spraying of their idiotic “brand smell”.

    Seriously – why do so many people still buy into this marketing hype? Most people I know laugh when they see someone wearing A&F because it merely tells us they A) are economically ignorant, B) are a slave to brand name marketing, and C) believe wearing trendy ‘name brands’ make them “cool”.

    Ultimate fail.

    • dolemite says:

      I remember going into that store once with my wife. I looked at the price of a pair of jeans…$200. I was like “this is for 1 pair, or the rack?”

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Well, most of the people who wear A&F are probably teenagers and most teenagers buy into trends and labels as the idea of what’s popular and fashionable. It was the same when I was a teen (and teens wore A&F, or its poorer cousin, Aeropostale). I think it’s just part of being a teenager and the obsessive need to fit in with everyone else.

    • Anathema777 says:

      Or D) Got a gift card from a well-meaning relative.

    • jason in boston says:

      e) they last longer.

      I have regular jeans (no rips), flip flops, tshirts, button down shirts, sweats, khaki pants that have lasted longer than even Banana / Jcrew clothing.

      • Costner says:

        Yea – I know people use the “they last longer” argument to attempt to justify the expense, but that isn’t actually a factual statement. A pair of Levis from JCPenny will last just as long if not longer than anything sold at A&F.

        In fact, even if it was factual statement, it still would not justify the cost. It isn’t odd to find a $200 pair of jeans at A&F, and it is very common to find jeans for $20 at major retailers. Thus, are you honestly going to even suggest that the A&F jeans last 10 times as long as the jeans bought elsewhere for $20?

        I didn’t think so.

        Even if the clothing did last longer, chances are you would either grow out of it, stain it, or the style would change before it was wore out.

        If someone wants to spend their money on trendy name brand clothing that is their right, and there are probably a lot of reasons a person could attempt to justify it (they prefer the fit, or perhaps they just like that particular style), but longevity isn’t one of them.

        I’m the first to admit I like BKE jeans that can only be found at The Buckle. They are the best fitting jeans I’ve ever worn, and try as I might I can’t find anything I like better. However, at around $85 a pair, I just have a hard time justifying them when I know I can buy jeans elsewhere for $20 or $30 that will last just as long and look just as good (albeit without the label on the back).

        I’m not about to claim BKE lasts any longer than Levis or whatever off-brand can be found at Target or Walmat however, because I know that isn’t true. Heck if longevity was my only concern, I’d pop for the $25 Dickies since their material is thicker and they are proven to last even under less-than-ideal conditions.

        • jason in boston says:

          $200? Try $80 for men and women (current as of 5 min ago). Without touching the clearance section. Cheaper than Banana / Jcrew / Lucky. And yes, the quality of the material does matter. In my case, the ROI is just better on the regular clothing (non-dressing up) for my use case.

      • samonela says:

        I have some Route 66 jeans I bought on a whim at Kmart when I needed a quick change of clothes. $14.99 out the door and nearly 4 years later they are still in great shape…no holes, no tattering. Only a bit faded as they were a very dark blue when new.

      • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

        For a year, I wore one. ONE pair of jeans that I washed every two days. It’s life ended two years later, when it was one of two pairs. I wore no other bottoms. (It’s a long story, but basically I was poor.)

        They cost me $11 at Wal-Mart.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      I like pants that fit and don’t cost a fortune. I gave up trying to acquire Levis in the 80s after numerous “NOs” from my parents.

    • Southern says:

      Seriously – why do so many people still buy into this marketing hype? Most people I know laugh when they see someone wearing A&F because it merely tells us they A) are economically ignorant, B) are a slave to brand name marketing, and C) believe wearing trendy ‘name brands’ make them “cool”.

      This has been going on for a looooooooooooong time. Hell, I still remember back in the late 70s / early 80’s the big deal all the high school kids made over “Alligator” (Izod) shirts. The students would actually make fun of other students that wore the tennis style shirts if they didn’t have the Izod logo.

      It’s no different with many other brands today, like Nike, A&F, Adidas, etc.. I’m not going to go out of my way to pay MORE for a product just because it’s got a damn logo on it – if anything, they should be paying ME to be advertising for ’em.

    • doctor.mike says:

      F: Because they are from Asia, Gay, Tourists in New York City, and must have that “fag bag”. Yes, I’m gay and think that is absolutely ridiculous.

    • lihtox says:

      People spend money all the time on things which seem ridiculous to others: they play video games, they go bowling, they eat fancy dinners, whatever. Some people feel good having an expensive label on their butt or their chest or wherever. If they’ve got the money to spare, I’m certainly in no place to criticize.

  6. crb042 says:

    This is worth protesting over?

    As opposed to simply not going into the store to shop there anymore? It’s worth ACTIVELY working against it?

    • Muddie says:

      To stop them from spraying it in common areas? Yup.

    • jbandsma says:

      You better believe it. That stuff could trigger a potentialy life-threatening condition in people (especially children) with asthma, COPD and other lung problems.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      You don’t even have to actually walk into the store to get knocked over by the stench. In our mall, the A&F is right in front of the escalator, so it’s hard to avoid.

    • runswithscissors says:


      So yes… and I’m proud there are teens out there who give a damn.

  7. Mike says:

    Am I the only one who is thinking: “What is wrong with these kids that they want A&F clothes so badly they need to protest the smell of the store?” Do what I do, avoid the store. The same way I avoid those bath/lotion stores that smell like Patchouli and Liberal Arts degrees.

    Hey kids, there are wars going on, a health care system in shambles, and crazy people running for senate. There are plenty of things to protest, but A&F is not one of them.

    • jason in boston says:

      Or, use the online store. Clearance is better than and B&M and they are even trialing out coupon codes. The 20% off over the summer was perfect.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      You could say that about nearly every post on this web site.

    • Costner says:

      “The same way I avoid those bath/lotion stores that smell like Patchouli and Liberal Arts degrees.”

      Nice usage of the term “patchouli”… I think the last time I heard that used was when I was watching High Fidelity as John Cusack said it to Tim Robbins.

      But honestly… what does a Liberal Arts degree smell like exactly? Inquiring minds want to know.

      • Mike says:

        “But honestly… what does a Liberal Arts degree smell like exactly? Inquiring minds want to know.”

        As someone who has three let me tell you. At first it smells like paralyzing student loan debt, then it smells like under-employment, and ends with a waft of law school. Then you rinse, repeat, after applying law school. Sniff, sniff I smell an LLM! Woohoo!

    • FrugalFreak says:

      weird, I smell the scent of tea and greed of green in the air from this post.

      There are wars going on, heath care is being better as of late, but those items are supposed to let business/capitalism harm people or do as they dang well please?

      I think NOT.

  8. afdude says:

    I mean, there isn’t anyone making these people shop at Abercrombe & Fitch, so just don’t go into the store…

    • ubermex says:

      That’s the problem, this stuff wafts out into the whole wing of the mall that it’s in. Imagine having to work in the next store over. That’s an unacceptable hazard if the stuff is actually toxic.

      • moyawyvern says:

        I do work the next store over, and it is horrendous. The store I work in is pretty well scented on its own, and I can still smell A&F over my store’s scent. Not to mention hear the thumping of the obnoxious music through our common wall. I have asthma and any Ambercrombie is a hazard for me to walk past.

  9. dolemite says:

    Seems like there are better causes out there. “I’m outraged that this overpriced store is spritzing cologne in the dressing room! Visit us at teensturninggreen.org, and watch for our new tv ads soon!” Meanwhile a whale is harpooned as a dog is kicked by a starving homeless kid, as a homeless man beats a homeless woman with a non recyclable battery pack.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Frankly I don’t want people who shop at A&F to procreate, so kudos!

  11. smith186 says:

    I always knew that store reeked just from walking past it, but I didn’t think it was intentional. I thought it was the customers. The more you know!

  12. scientific progress goes boink says:

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who can’t stand it. I can’t even walk through a good chunk of my local mall with out gagging because of that store. You can even smell the stank a floor below it!

    Strong scents give me migraines and nosebleeds, I don’t know how the employees- ahem, I mean models can stand it. Damn stuff has probably caused brain damage…

  13. Odin Zifer says:

    I would gladly join a flash mob wearing gas masks

  14. apd09 says:

    that wonderful LFO hit

    RIP Rich Cronin, he passed away due to Leukemia on Sept 9, 2010.

  15. ogremustcrush says:

    I always wondered why those damn stores reaked so bad, just walking past them would make me start to gag. Guess I should have figured they’d be loaded up with nasty cologne sprayers.

  16. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Is it me or is the one girl in the poster not all that concerned about the fact that dude is in a gas mask? The girl with the hand on his shoulder is looking kinda melodramatic and the girl behind him just looks skeptical, like she thinks the mask is a dumb plan, but the girl on the right is just getting her picture taken.

    Also, is he shirtless?

    Wait…is this actually a Rule 34 thing?

  17. PTB315 says:

    I would say there are two groups: Group 1 consists of the people who spend more money for stuff that is more expensive than comparable stuff, just so that other people know they can afford to do so.

    Group 2 is everyone who thinks that that the whole concept above is stupid. You and I belong to group 2. But group 1 will never change their ways no matter how much group 2 explains it. They are to some degree aware of what they’re doing, and choose to do so.

    That being said, the cologne thing is being presented as both a health issue and an annoyance, and ultimately I don’t factor in my position on people’s silliness on whether or not their problems are important. At least if their silliness isn’t taking a direct toll on me. If their silliness does in fact affect me in a negative way, then I am OK with punishment up to and including them dying in a silly manner and burning in silly hell.

    • Martha Gail says:

      There’s also a group 3. People who don’t care so much for the label, but are willing to pay more for a better fit. You can’t tell me that clothes made for Walmart are cut the same a most clothing from a brand name.

      Don’t get me wrong, I have my fair share of cheap clothes, but they’re for working in or doing crafts in. If I want to look put together, I’ll wear nicer brands.

  18. arcoiris says:

    Abercrumble and Bitch is da worst piece of scum in my shopping experience. Overpriced, smelly and racial bigotry stench. Putting ppl to work in the back because they don’t fit their corporate image. I mean seriously.. w t f.

  19. arcoiris says:

    Abercrumble and Bitch is da worst piece of scum in my shopping experience. Overpriced, smelly and racial bigotry stench. Putting ppl to work in the back because they don’t fit their corporate image. I mean seriously.. w t f. And then on top of it… they mark their territory with their acid piss. Jesus.. what’s next? Lickin swabs?

  20. Portlandia says:

    It’s true. I walked into an A&F store at opening not too long ago and one of the salespeople were spraying it EVERYWHERE….up and down the aisles….every pile of clothes got one or two sprays. I almost gagged.

  21. Farleyboy007 says:

    That’s the cologne i wear, and the ladies seem to love it!

    unless they are just being nice and i get pity compliments…

    • Michaela says:

      My old roomie loved the smell. She used to keep a sample of it in her wallet, and we bought it for a boy she dated a couple of years ago.

      Honestly, I don’t care either way about the smell. The smell of an A&F store does not disgust me. It is just another thing my nose processes as I make my way to GAP.

  22. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    When oh when will the obnoxious, noxiously aromatic, Eurotrash Disco-music-thumping Hollister get this same treatment?

  23. u1itn0w2day says:

    Forget those mall stores I wish people would protest the frackin scents they put in magazine advertising. It’s enough to make you hate to read or more importantly not buy the magazine.

    I hope A & F does get protests because if nothing else it brings up the issue of cologne STINK and pollution.

  24. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I hate all perfume. I am asthmatic and allergic. What I hate more is the women who think that people 30 feet over need to smell their crappy perfume, so they bathe themselves in it. A little goes a long way.

    I also hate that major department stores put the perfume section at the front of the store where I have to walk though it.

  25. sopmodm14 says:

    are restaurants going to charge more b/c their food’s aroma’s add value to the air then ?

    yes, the chemicals can cause lower sperm count, but you don’t drink cologne, lol

    we should ban cars totally then b/c their emmissions are like second-hand smoke right, and everyone contributes to it

  26. pax says:

    So nobody is going to commend the teens for being informed consumers and mounting a well-organized peaceful protest? With all the apathy out there among the younger set, it always makes me excited to hear about teens who care about SOMETHING.

  27. AI says:

    A&F is nowhere near as bad as any department store. The perfume section of department stores is always at the entrance, and there’s a heck of a lot more than 1 scent emanating from the area.

  28. DonnieZ says:

    I must be the only one but I actually enjoy the smell of the A&F store at the mall. I can see where it would get annoying all the time all day, however in small doses it’s pleasant.

    I never shop there though. I’m 5’11” and when I was 190 pounds, even the XL shirts wouldn’t fit me.

  29. ShruggingGalt says:

    Mosquito powers, activate!

  30. Incredulous1 says:

    I’m so glad my teenagers hate A&F and any other name brand clothes! Saves me from the argument of why I’m not buying that.

    My boys got a hold of some 1980’s rock band t-shirts (thank you uncle Mike) and they are the envy of their friends and their friends dads!!! Way to go – 25 year old used t-shirts!! Priceless

  31. LorgSkyegon says:

    *Diethyl phthalate – a chemical linked in recent human studies to sperm damage in adult men, abnormal reproductive development in baby boys, and behavioral problems in children.

    Yes, and ten feet of water is fatal. Even heavy metals like cadmium aren’t toxic at minuscule amounts and ingested the wrong way.

  32. Wei says:

    I think leaving them alone would be a more elegant solution. The people who shop there will be unable to reproduce in one generation.

  33. Pibbs says:

    Don’t go in there then. Don’t even go near the store. If enough people do it, they’ll get the hint.

    I find their clothes to be too expensive for my tastes, and I hate their stores.

  34. CFinWV says:

    Stores like this are the reason I stopped going to the mall, I either shop online or go to places where I know they don’t spray perfume everywhere. Suffering with a migraine for a few days is not fun.

  35. Erik_says_this says:

    60 stores closed? That’s a shame. Not that that they closed, but that it was only 60.

  36. jcargill says:

    Unionize. Or just accept getting jerked around at work.

  37. Kimmakimma says:

    That smell is awful. It is ok if someone has a little spritz, but this place sprays it all day long. I get sick when I walk past that store in the mall. It is obscene.

  38. jimstoic says:

    When I was a kid, we protested wars.