Credit: The Straits Times

Since last year, too many well-known brands have folded and exited the retail market all around the world due to a decrease in footfall, no thanks to the pandemic. 

Even in Singapore, big names like Topshop and Topman have shuttered their last few physical stores and moved their businesses online. 

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it. American retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) is the next popular fashion name to bite the dust — they will be closing their only physical outlet at Knightsbridge, Orchard Road, on May 2. 

The brand took to Instagram on Sunday (April 18) to make the announcement without going into much details about the closure. 

This is also not the first physical store that they’re shuttering — according to A&F’s financial report, the company had closed eight of their flagship locations and 129 of their non-flagship locations worldwide by the end of fiscal year 2020.

While many of us are saddened by the news, we should also remember the good (and bad) times we’ve had with the American brand. Here are six things we remember most about them.

1. That scent

If you’ve ever walked into an A&F outlet before, the first thing that hits you is the scent. 

Heck, even if you’ve never walked into the store before, you might have even smelled their iconic fragrance from the street. 

The scent, slightly spicy, sweet and a little musky, is so strong that you don’t need to spritz yourself with their cologne for it to stay on you — just walk into the shop once and you’ll smell like the place for the next few days. 

2. The shirtless hunks

Ah, the shirtless hunks. How can we forget these lads? 

PHOTO: The Straits Times 

Back in the day, A&F was famous for marketing the brand with drool-worthy topless male models before this was put to a halt. But before that, it wasn’t a rare sight to see these men flaunting their perfectly-chiselled abs and bulging biceps outside the store.

While conservative Singaporeans, in general, enjoy making noise about indecently-dressed people, we know many of you secretly took a peek while walking by these near-naked models. Don’t deny it.

3. Their ‘indecent’ ads that brought something different to the streets of Orchard

And of course, how can one forget A&F’s obscene advertising? 

It got so bad that in 2011, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore suspended the brand’s advertisement at Knightsbridge for breaching local guidelines on decency. 

The ‘offending’ picture was one of a topless man tugging at his low-slung jeans — any lower and the whole of Orchard Road would have had a fine view of his male anatomy. 

4. A&F’s insanely good looking helpful staff

A walk into A&F may not always have been good for our self-esteem, thanks to their team of insanely good looking staff.

From greeting you at the entrance to helping you while you shuffle around the fitting room, these guys were everywhere. 

It also didn’t help that the bulk of the clothes being sold are seemingly crafted to look good on these gorgeous people instead of us average folk. 

5. The dimly-lit shop space

One ‘fond’ memory I have of the A&F flagship store at Knightsbridge is almost rolling down the stairs in 2013. I was at level one feeling my way around in the dark space to get to the ladies department at the basement.

While their dimly-lit store can be considered quite a hazard, it admittedly left an impression on many of us shoppers. We will miss bumping around those dark corridors and accidentally walking into mannequins. 

6. Being able to try on clothes before purchasing it online

Admittedly, one of the perks of the physical store was being able to try on the clothes before we made a purchase online. 

Now that A&F is moving out, we will sadly have to stick to imagining ourselves in each outfit before deciding on whether to click ‘Add to cart’. 

This article was first published in AsiaOne.