Abercrombie & Fitch Male Model: Gray Smith

Gray Smith, a 19-year-old freshman at Harvard University, was chosen based for the Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly, among other things, on his high school prom picture. "This is one of those things you don't expect to happen in the real world," says the 6-1 hazel-eyed blond.

The Abercrombie & Fitch clothing catalog - called the A&F Quarterly - is a magazine-style catalog that includes clothing for sale as well as articles on topics such as "cool summer internships." The $6 book is available in Abercrombie stores and via subscription.

In the past, issues have included sex tips from a porn star, cocktail recipes, and game suggestions like Naked Twister. Two female models in the summer 2000 issue are shown in skimpy bikinis and a T-shirt, pulling down the bikini briefs of a male model. Another scene depicts four young women surrounding a man at the beach. His pants are unzipped and pulled down to his thighs, revealing his red underwear.

Such content has sparked parental protests in numerous states, including Massachusetts. As a result, Abercrombie - based in Reynoldsburg, Ohio - began carding catalog buyers in stores nationwide last November, requiring them to prove with a photo ID that they are at least 18 years old.

This kind of restriction has made the retailer only that much more appealing to some teens. According to an April study by Teenage Research Unlimited Inc., a Northbrook, Ill., marketing research firm, Abercrombie is rated the second-"coolest" brand (after Nike) among 12- to 19-year-olds surveyed.

Career cultivation

From a modeling perspective, appearing in such a hot book can only boost one's career, especially when the photographer is Weber. "It's like the ultimate," says Suzy Marden, director of Click Models Boston. "Everyone who sees that catalog all over the nation will see these kids. This is a biggie."

Ironically, Smith, an Atlanta native, could care less about career possibilities or any controversy surrounding the fall A&F, which will be released in July. He's more concerned about declaring a major at Harvard. "I don't see much future in a career as a famous model," he says. "I wouldn't want a career where you're too old at 27. . . . I want to start my own company and move back to Atlanta."

Smith, a self-described poor college student, is modeling only for the pocket change, he says. He's not into fashion, and he never shops. Instead, he waits for his family to give him clothing, such as jeans and Polo shirts, as gifts. Although he likes Abercrombie's style, he says the brand is too expensive for his budget. "I usually wear whatever I can find on the floor that's clean," he says.

Smith fell into modeling as a fluke, after he accompanied a friend to pick up a paycheck at Click and the agency recruited him.

His first job was in March, posing as a delivery man for the Internet shopping service ShopLink.com. He then appeared in a spring clothing catalog for New Hampshire-based retailer Poore Simon's. In April, Click asked him to attend a casting for Abercrombie at the Sheraton Hotel. More than 60 potential models showed up, but he got the slot. Says Smith, who used to work at Abercrombie as a sales clerk in high school, "I never expected this to happen."

Kelly Donovan, a female model, arrived at the Abercrombie shoot two days before Smith. For her first assignment, she was asked - of all things - to play basketball with another woman against four young men. Her outfit? Something really familiar. Gray sweat pants, a yellow T-shirt, and sneakers. "My hair was in a ponytail and I had no makeup on," she recalls.

Later, Donovan participated in a jazz club scene where she danced in a red wool plaid dress. "Bruce made me dance by myself in front of everyone."

On her second day, Donovan met a group of about 15 other models in her Manhattan hotel lobby at 6 a.m. to take a bus to Princeton University in New Jersey. Donovan's role for this campus scene was to "jump a lot. Throw books up in the air, throw basketballs. They brought in three golden retriever puppies and we played with them. It was more acting than posing."

On her third day of work, Donovan met Smith. The two spent more than nine hours waiting at a Harlem nightclub with about 25 other models for their chance to appear in a college party scene. "My role was to just talk, standing up, with a couple of kids. I had a glass of juice in my hand," says Donovan.

Smith says his assignment was to stand behind two young men arm-wrestling at a table, cheering them on. He wore a red T-shirt and blue-and-white Hawaiian-print shorts. In another scene, he stood at a bar drinking soda and tossing popcorn in his mouth. "Once he started taking pictures, I got real comfortable with it," says Smith, who was paid $500 for a day's work.

Smith's second scene was a cocktail party at a jazz club where he sat on a bed surrounded by several women. He says it's "strange" that the company placed a bed in the scene, but he didn't question it. "We were all just talking, drinking fake cocktails. . . . Our conversation was `Where are you from? What do you do?' It was kind of surreal."

At home, discomfort

Donovan's and Smith's mothers weren't thrilled about their children appearing in the catalog. Says Donna Smith, who owns an art store in an Atanta suburb, "We were stockholders" in Abercrombie & Fitch. "We sold the stock when we saw the catalog a couple of years ago. We haven't stepped foot in the store since. . . . It bothers me that they promote underage drinking and, in the current climate of AIDS, promiscuity."

Says Nancy Donovan, a social worker in Falmouth, "I think the catalog is very sexualized. I said to Kell, `Your grandfather will be looking at this. You need to realize that what you do impacts your family.' "

Both parents stress that they trust their children and give them freedom to do what they want. Gray is "completely an adult," says Donna. "We don't tell him what to do at this point." Says Nancy, "We've warned [Kelly]. You hope that what you've been teaching her has taken hold."

For his part, Gray is preparing to return to Atlanta during Harvard's summer break, and plans to work for the local Click office. "It's easy money," he says. Still, come September, Gray promises he'll be back at Harvard. "I'd probably like being a famous model for a week or a month. But I don't want that life. I want to start my own business in school, some sort of Internet consumer service."

Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly

There's one company that knows precisely how — and where — to goose the nation's teens.

Not the Gap. Not Nintendo. Not even Tommy Hilfiger. It's Abercrombie &
Fitch. So, watch it, because this is the season when that ultra-cool retailer and cataloger of outdoorsy apparel typically likes to do its most over-the-top goosing.

A&F's sexually suggestive catalog hits stores this week. How suggestive? Well, it comes shrink-wrapped in plastic. And you have to prove that you're 18 years old to buy it.

While the photos in the newest issue might be a tad tame by A&F standards, this holiday catalog still is destined to cause commotion. It features a lesbian wedding, a naked male mounting an outdoor fountain and, oh yes, an interview with Brady Bunch mom Florence Henderson commenting on penis size.

Teens love it. Parents hate it. Some lawmakers have even tried to ban it.

And it is more important than ever for A&F to stir the pot. At a time when the retailer's cachet may have peaked and sales growth is slowing, Abercrombie is clawing to stay on top as King of Cool.

What's behind all the buzz? USA TODAY was given the first-ever
behind-the-scenes look at the making and marketing of what is arguably the most provocative of retail catalogs.

Until now, the secretive company, which evolved from a decades-old stodgy maker of travel gear into an edgy seller of teen apparel, has never publicly discussed the planning process behind its quarterlies. Instead, it has quietly gathered cult-like status.

So, what gives? Is this holiday issue of the A&F quarterly tamer by design? "It probably will be regarded as less controversial than last Christmas," CEO Michael Jeffries says. "But that wasn't purposeful. I didn't give anyone direction to tone it down."

Previous catalogs raised eyebrows. Last year's holiday book featured an interview with a female porn star and photos of male and female models naked on horseback. The fall issue showed a naked male lap dancer on a female customer's lap. And one past issue featured binge-drinking recipes that raised the wrath of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. (Jeffries admits, "I made a big mistake on that one.)

So provocative is the brand, conservative Bob Jones University banned A&F clothing on campus. Some students are hiding A&F logos by sticking bandages over baseball caps or electrical tape on jackets.

Any teenager with a credit card knows exactly what the expression "That's so Abercrombie" means: stylish, edgy and expensive.

An A&F canvas jacket will set you back $139. And one pair of its men's boxer shorts fetches $18.50 — about the price of a Jockey three-pack.

But is "edginess," as embodied by the catalog, the main ingredient in A&F's success?

"I don't think it stimulates business to be controversial," Jeffries insists. "It's unpleasant to be attacked and vilified when all you're doing is creating a magazine that respects its readers."

For all the hoopla it receives, the quarterly catalog itself basically breaks even, he says. About 200,000 are sold, at $6 a pop. Catalog sales account for less than 5% of the company's overall apparel sales, which topped $1 billion last year. The purpose of the quarterly catalog is simple, says Jeffries: "To help communicate the image of the brand."

He says that image is about college kids having fun. Critics contend it appears more to be about pre-college kids occasionally doing kinky stuff. In either case, it's a long way from its roots as the retailer that for decades sold travel gear to the high-society crowd.

Not that everyone is pleased with the change in direction. Jim Secreto may own a pair or two of Abercrombie boxer shorts, but he says those were gifts and swears he doesn't buy the brand. "They're a good thing gone bad," says the twentysomething government worker from Woodstock, N.Y.

But these days, it's hard to find a teen closet or dresser without an A&F shirt, sweater or sweatshirt stuffed somewhere inside.

Naomi Jodre, an 18-year-old photography major at New York University,
doesn't hesitate to brag that she owns at least 15 Abercrombie sweaters worth upward of $1,000. "It doesn't matter to me what kind of photos they put in their catalogs," she says. "I like the clothes."

The appeal goes beyond teens. Despite dozens of requests, A&F refuses to supply free clothing to celebrities. Yet everyone from Tom Cruise to Brad Pitt to Jennifer Lopez wears the brand. And the brand has already been enshrined into the world of rap. Lyte Funkie Ones recorded a No. 1 hit with this lyric: "When I met you I said my name was Rich;/You look like a girl from Abercrombie & Fitch."

With coolness, however, comes controversy.

After last year's sexually explicit holiday catalog came out, the attorney general for the state of Michigan succeeded in prodding A&F to stop peddling it to youths under 18. She's got her eye on them this year, too. "They are marketing a lifestyle that screams to children: Promiscuity is cool," Jennifer Granholm says. "Believe me, we'll be monitoring how they distribute their catalogs."

Stock problems, slow sales

That may be the least of A&F's problems. Its stock is down about 19% for the year. Same-store sales growth has slowed dramatically. Its wild popularity with teens and college students has begun to ebb. ("They're so 1980s," says teen marketing guru Marian Salzman.) And the brand is trying to be all things to all generations of youth.

The 20,000 or so college kids who work in its stores often look more like customers than employees. That's the way A&F wants it. And the music in A&F shops is intentionally played just loud enough to keep out the grown-ups. Now, in a bid to extend the brand, the company has begun to test new retail stores under the name Hollister, aimed at high school teens. It also is targeting kids as young as seven with its Abercrombie stores.

Has A&F lost a step?

Worse than that, Salzman says, it's losing its cool. "It's overdone. The current trend among teens is sensual, not sexual."

Not so, says Michael Wood, vice president of Teenage Research Unlimited. "This age group is hormonally driven. And more than anyone else, A&F is the teen lifestyle manual."

At first blush, the 280-page Christmas book being distributed nationwide this week looks, well, tame. The cover shows a handful of siblings about to decorate their New England home for Christmas.

The paper on which the magazine is printed is among the finest available. The photos are shot by one of the world's top fashion photographers. And the images — the majority of which are not blatantly sexual — show college kids at their frolicking best.

"Abercrombie & Fitch is today's Norman Rockwell," says a smirking Sam Shahid, the New York-based agency chief and creative mastermind behind the quarterly magazines.

What's this 57-year-old doing setting the coolness agenda for the nation's youth?

In two words: loving it.

Each catalog, Shahid says, is quite simply, a collection of photos that show how much college kids love to play. "The world of Abercrombie," he says, "is very physical."

Right. Like the guy in the latest catalog who has a Christmas card sticking out of his briefs. And the two-page spread of the nearly naked guy smirking in bed while his knockout wife (she's wearing a ring) pokes his groin with a ski pole. "Redefining the use of ski equipment," says the caption to the photo.

Provocative pictures aside, this Christmas issue also has a controversial story that weaves through it: "A Very Emerson Christmas." It's about four brothers and a sister who return home at Christmas for a double wedding for one brother and one sister. Never mind that the sister is marrying a woman.

Working spontaneously

Sound a bit over-the-top?

Well, one day spent at the company's Manhattan ad agency with its key creative staff makes one thing crystal clear: Much of this book is done on the fly.

Oh, sure, there are planning sessions. And heated discussions. And costly photo shoots. But, in the end, a good chunk of this catalog is the result of whimsy. And last-minute decision-making.

Case in point: There's the humorous invitation to the lesbian wedding in the newest edition. (The response card offers the option: "No, I'm liberal but not that liberal.") But that wasn't some stroke of creative genius at A&F. Far from it. The invitation duplicates a real one received by an A&F staffer shortly before the magazine went to print.

And the San Francisco-based freelance writer who penned the offbeat storyline was an 11th-hour choice who had only one week to write it.

This is not to say there's not detailed planning. Discussion about the December catalog began in early July. The entire catalog was shot over six days in late July and early August, in Hamilton, Mass., about 40 miles west of Boston.

A&F is big on scouting out things.

The 35 college students featured in the holiday issue didn't get there by accident. A&F has talent scouts at schools nationwide. They're at Yale and Princeton. And at UCLA and the University of California at Berkley. But they don't just hit campuses. In search of new faces, A&F sends scouts to Xtreme Games, polo matches and in-line skating competitions.

To keep each issue fresh, the same model is never used in more than one issue. And some who were initially photographed for the most recent issue didn't make the final cut. Even when they look perfect, "You get some in front of the camera, and they act like robots," Shahid says.

Back in late July, the student models were gathered in tiny Hamilton. All were sworn to secrecy. None were even allowed to bring their own cameras.

"If the competition finds out," Shahid explains, "they go there and film, too."

All the students are individually introduced to Bruce Weber, the world-class fashion photographer who has helped to reinvent A&F with his often-provocative work.

"We're not trying to shock anybody," Weber says. "We're basically saying: Open your eyes and have some patience with each other."

Before the shoots begin, the students all are worked over by hair stylists and make-up artists. "You'd be surprised how many of them don't look like what we groom them to be," Shahid says.

Typically, the crew does two or three shoots a day. "It's a lot like making a movie," Shahid says. But there are no scripts. Although the students are put into a setting — like a Christmas-tree-decked living room inside a New England home — it's generally up to them what they do there.

The shoots typically stretch from about 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Then, they do it again the next day.

Before the lesbian wedding scene was shot, only the two models who played the brides were told in advance that they would marry, and kiss. When they kissed, Shahid says, applause broke out.

"Until then, everyone was wondering, why are there so many brides at this wedding?" Shahid says.

Passionate catalog editor

The actual editing of the new catalog didn't begin until mid-August. The editor is a 27-year-old who less than five years ago was an agency assistant hired out of college to basically fetch coffee and file documents.

But now, Savas Abadsidis edits the quarterly magazine. He's passionate about it, too. "College years are the time of your life. It's a coming of age. It's about rebellion and about fighting the system," he says. "Our book isn't just about sex. You have to look at it as a whole book. It's intelligent. And it's honest."

But in today's culture, honesty is a matter of semantics.

Do college kids really look like this? Gorgeous women without an ounce of body fat? Pretty men without a hair on their waxed and bulging chests? Aspirational perhaps, but not your typical college crowd.

Yet the stuff the kids are doing in many of the photos is mostly for real. The guy and gal wrestling half-naked in the grass. The kiss under the mistletoe where the sneaky guy has one hand down the gal's pants. And that shirtless romp under the Christmas tree. This is as hormonally real as it gets.

Better perhaps than anyone else, A&F knows hormones.

When 55-year-old CEO Jeffries needs inter-generational advice, he doesn't consult his marketing director. Or call his brand manager. He simply phones or e-mails his 20-year old son, Andrew, who is still trying to decide his major at Claremont McKenna College, a small liberal arts school about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. That's where Jeffries went to college, too.

"We're raising a great generation of kids," Jeffries says. "The trick is not to treat them as children, but as intelligent, caring people."

"And to make them laugh," he adds.

All the way to the ATM.

USA Today, November 8, 2000

Abercrombie & Fitch Male Model: Tyler Scevers

Tyler Scevers has got "the look."

Since entering the modeling industry two years ago, the Roseburg teenager flew to Hawaii to model the spring line for Abercrombie & Fitch. He appeared in GQ magazine, and he's now leaving for Miami -- where he will be in a photo shoot with supermodel Kate Moss for the French edition of Vogue.

What can only be described as a whirlwind experience has opened doors Scevers never knew were there. Now, the 16-year-old is embracing his new career and is ready to tackle new challenges -- be it attending fashion shows in Paris or trying his hand at acting.

"I'm always told I'm too young, and that can be frustrating," Scevers said about receiving rejections. "That just tells me I'll be there someday."


Scevers didn't set out to be a model. But through encouragement from his friends and family, who touted modeling's earning potential, Scevers agreed to give it a shot. He had a friend who worked with Image & Modeling Development in Medford, so he and his parents decided to check out that place first.

His agent, Teresa Pollman of IMD, said she looked at Scevers and immediately knew he had something special. Scevers, she said, is destined to go big.

"He was very shy when he came to us," she said. "He is one of those people who would never say they want to be a model. It took a little bit of convincing."

After an in-depth discussion with his parents, Joe and Pam Scevers of Roseburg, Scevers signed with IMD and embarked on a new and unfamiliar journey.

His first big step was winning a scholarship from his agency to attend the International Models & Talent Association's competition in New York City last summer. At the Hilton hotel, Scevers was one of 20,000 aspiring models who strode the runway and auditioned for commercials -- all in the hopes of being discovered.

"It was insane," Scevers said about the weeklong experience. "I was pretty nervous, but more excited. It was the first time I got up onstage. My heart was beating pretty fast."

For the competition, Scevers auditioned for two commercials -- for Schick Quattro razors and Hostess Cakes. He also modeled jeans and swimwear, an act he describes as being different between men and women.

"It's a lot harder for girls," said Scevers, who is also studying for his GED at Phoenix School in Roseburg. "The guys just sit there and look cool, I guess."

Men, he said, have to match their stride to the beat of the music. They must look cool and collected, and they can't smile -- as that would detract attention from the clothes. Women must abide by these same rules, but they also have to worry about holding their shoulders back and kicking their legs forward to effectively "trot" down the runway.

Although he didn't land any commercials, Scevers did obtain a New York agent -- Major Model Management. Through prompting from this agent, he recently returned to New York for a three-month stay. He lived in a house with 10 roommates, and he was on his own to maneuver New York's subway system and meet people in the industry.

The time spent in New York, Scevers said, was devoted to work. He attended an average of four casting calls a day, an activity that entailed a brief interview and showing potential employers his book of photos. It was a simple process, and he learned how it worked rather quickly.

His parents, meanwhile, stayed behind while their son tried to make a name for himself. Scevers' father, Joe, works for Roseburg Forest Products, and his mother, Pam, is a waitress at Casey's Restaurant in Roseburg. Scevers also has an older brother who lives in Portland.

Both Pam and Joe admit to having serious reservations about their son's adventure, but they agreed it was something he needed to experience.

"It was kind of nerve-wracking," Joe said. "You have your kid at 16 in New York City. Most parents wouldn't let their kids do that. ... I had a lot of faith in him. It's scary. You just have to trust in God and let him go."

Pam agrees. When IMD signed him, she knew their lives would drastically change. She did not like the idea of Scevers riding the subway at night or wandering the streets alone. But he has proven himself to be a responsible and mature individual, and she knew this was something he needed to try.

"Everything I didn't want, he ended up doing," she said about his exploration of New York City. "He really took it in and became a man. He's handled it really well."


In New York, Scevers said he learned a lot of the basics -- how to do his own laundry, how to organize his time, how to budget money. He even went so far as to set a $1 limit for hot dogs, and he went to numerous stands until he found ones where the price was right.

A bit intimidated at first, Scevers soon adjusted to big city life and succeeded in landing jobs. Later this spring, his image will be seen in advertisements for United Colors of Benetton, and it will appear in such magazines as British GQ, Vogue and L'uomo Vogue.

Each shoot, Scevers said, has a memory. He rode in a BMW and hung out with a bunch of girls in swimwear for one spread, and for another, he wore three pairs of shoes around his neck.

Scevers said he's learned to take direction, and he tries to improvise as well -- trusting his intuition in what will make an appealing photo.

"The hardest part is probably getting in the (right) frame of mind," Scevers said. "It's like acting."

Because Scevers is new in the business, he makes anywhere from $150 an hour to $1,000 a day. The price is dictated on who wants the photo and how the photo will be used. If he were an exclusive model for a campaign, for example, he could net as much as $100,000.

Scevers is not at that level yet, but he'd like to be. To that end, he's working on getting his name out there. If people want to hire him, great. If not, that's fine too. That's the nature of the business.

"I just try to be myself," Scevers said. "You can't give anything except yourself. ... You never know what they are looking for. If you fit it, you fit it."

Scevers' childhood friend, Melanie McManus, has no doubt that Scevers will succeed at his goals. In fact, she takes credit for "discovering" him in middle school.

"In the seventh grade, I saw a picture of him and knew he would be a model," the 17-year-old Roseburg High School junior said. "When he told me about Medford, I knew he would go somewhere. ... He just has that unique look to him, and he has really captivating eyes. His eyes are really stunning."

Describing Scevers as the next Calvin Klein model, McManus said modeling has transformed Scevers into a more outgoing and confident person.

"Before, he used to be really shy, and he stuck to himself," she said. "(Modeling) has made him a lot more confident. ... He doesn't let this get to his head. He's still really down to earth."

His parents agree that they've seen changes in their son. Not only is he much more patient and responsible, he's grown in maturity. Still, they added, he's a "normal" teenager who hangs out with his friends, goes fishing with his dad and plays the guitar.

They don't believe Scevers is giving up anything by pursuing his career at such a young age, and Scevers doesn't either.

"My parents raised me to be pretty humble," Scevers said, adding that he's glad he can jump-start his career at such a young age. "I'm kind of tired of this place. I like traveling a lot."

Proud of all their son has accomplished, Joe and Pam said they know Scevers will stay true to himself as his career blossoms.

"When he's (modeling) he seems more alive," Pam said. "It gives him a lot more of a purpose. ... There is something about him. I don't know what it is, but everybody likes it. I have no doubt he'll make it."

Scevers, who returned from New York before Christmas, is now juggling his time between modeling assignments and studying for the GED exam. He later wants to take drama and speech classes at Umpqua Community College. He also hopes to branch out into acting in the next five years.

Modeling, Scevers learned, is not what he expected it to be. Luckily, he took the time -- and the chance -- to discover how it could enrich his life.

"I thought it was girly, that it was for people who were full of themselves," Scevers said about his initial thoughts of the modeling industry. "Now I know differently. You get to travel and meet people all over the world. It's crazy." ----

SCEVERS profile
WHO: Tyler Scevers, a 16-year-old Roseburg resident. He’s being represented by IMD Modeling in Medford and Major Model Management in New York City.

WHAT: Scevers has modeled for numerous publications, including V magazine, British GQ, L’uomo Vogue and GQ. He also modeled for United Colors of Benetton and Abercrombie and Fitch. Most of his ads will appear this spring, although a spread featuring Scevers was recently released in GQ.

GOALS: Scevers wants to earn his GED later this year. He also hopes to branch out to acting within the next five years.

QUOTE: “The shape is most important,” Scevers said about what potential employers want. “I try to eat well and swim and run for tone, nothing too big.”

Abercrombie & Fitch Photo Shoot at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley students got a sneak preview of Abercrombie and Fitch's fall 2001 catalog when models and photographers visited campus this week. For the past week, Berkeley has served as a backdrop for the clothing company's popular quarterly catalog, a publication with over 350,000 subscribers across the nation.

The models made their statement in suit jackets with multiple layers of button-up shirts and wool sweaters over each other. Bundled up in several layers of chunky turtlenecks, one model commented that she fit right in with the layered look of UC Berkeley students.

"We wanted to go to the West Coast and Berkeley felt like it just fit," says Sam Shahid, creative advertising director for the company. "This was more what we wanted than Stanford, which didn't have the architectural feel that we were going for. The atmosphere here is just great and it's about the emotion that you get from the place."

Shahid, who has used campuses like Princeton University and the University of Virginia in previous issues of the catalog, says UC Berkeley's unique history rooted in the Free Speech Movement captivates the "aggressive" essence of this season's quarterly.

"Berkeley helped to find a voice for youth and that is what Abercrombie and Fitch does today," Shahid explains. "It's about feeling good and having a good time and having a statement to make."

While the female models wore somewhat conventional clothing, most of the male models sported more risque ensembles. One wore loafers, argyle socks, shorts and a trench coat while others posed in cut-off T-shirts emblazoned with words like "tease" and "easy." For the models, the shoot is a bonding experience.

"At the end of a shoot everyone is crying and exchanging phone numbers," Shahid says. "I look at them and say 'Oh my God, this is so great,' because they get so close-it's like summer camp."

To the delight of a gathering crowd, male models in boxer briefs paddled each other on the front lawn of Theta Delta Chi, a fraternity house on Durant Avenue.

Aside from the social fraternity portrait, catalog photographers also captured the campus side of college life.

Photographer Bruce Weber used Doe Library as the backdrop for a mock poetry reading and took pictures of models horsing around in Memorial Stadium and the locker room. Models also posed in a picnic on College Avenue.

Company policy, however, forbids the catalog makers from showcasing campus landmarks like the Campanile and Sather Gate in the catalogue.

Although no UC Berkeley students were in the modeling cast, photographers invited members of the Cal band, Cal dance team and the rugby team to the shoots. For several of the rugby players who posed with the cast, the shoot was not as much about glamour as it was just having a good time.

"It was funny because these people are so pretty and us rugby guys are nothing special," admits Elliot Geidt, a UC Berkeley rugby player. "A lot of these guys are 'pro-models' and real uptight, but we just jerked around and had fun with it."

Geidt laughingly says how, after the first day of shooting, the rugby players were eagerly anticipating the catered lunch that they had been promised for posing in the shoot. What they got, however, was not what they had expected.

"We walked in there, and there were like seven different types of salad and carrots and stuff," Geidt says. "I mean, we're a bunch of rugby players-are you kidding me? So we had to sneak out to a vending machine and get food. I don't know about those models." Although Abercrombie ads capture an all-American athletic "look," Shahid says that the clothes create the look more than the people wearing them.

"We are not partial to one particular type of person," Shahid explains. "The clothes dictate the look a lot more than people think. A woman can wear Prada or Banana Republic and look completely different in each."

Although Shahid cannot disclose the details of what the new catalogue has in store, he hints that it will contain some nudity and Berkeley locals.

He also contemplated approaching students on the street about appearing in the catalog.

"We saw two gorgeous guys and a girl today and were about to go up to them," he says. "I also saw some really great-looking guys at the gym."

Shahid says he receives nearly 400 letters a month from individuals looking to model for the lucrative catalog. Hopefuls enclose Polaroids and recommendations from boyfriends, girlfriends and family members advocating their modeling potential.

Casting directors make their selections after looking through these pictures-as Shahid's policy is to use a new cast for every shoot.

As the crew left Berkeley yesterday, Shahid says the college town has definitely lived up to its name.

Abercrombie & Fitch Male Model: John Haritan

Standing proud in his blue and gold uniform, glaring down toward his opponents, who have no idea what they are in for, defensive back John Haritan is not only in the spotlight on the football field, but he also shines in the glare of a camera.

The Golden Panther safety not only picked up over 20 tackles in the first game of the season proving how tough he is, but the defensive back is also a star model.

Standing at six feet, 200 pounds, Haritan leaves football practice thinking about not only his possible career as an athlete, but maybe his modeling career.

"I never really thought about modeling, but I have a ton of fun doing it," said Haritan who led FIU in tackles in both 2002 and 2003.

Sporting number 31, Haritan works hard on both the football field, while awaiting another potential season of modeling. After appearing in last year's national advertising campaign for Abercrombie and Fitch, Haritan has now realized there may be more modeling in his near future due to his prior success.

Despite a busy schedule balancing football practice and school, Haritan explained how he doesn't participate in any modeling until football season is over.

"During season, I don't do any modeling," Haritan said. "Football and school come first."

Born and raised in Casselberry, FL, which is just north of Orlando, Haritan was involved in modeling in high school, along with being named The Orlando Sentinel's Seminole County Defensive Player of the year in 2000.

"In high school I modeled a little, but then it got bigger in college," said Haritan who has also been featured on Ocean Drive Magazine.

As a freshman at FIU, John adapted very quickly on the field; he was named the First Team All-Independent after leading his team with 86 tackles. While Haritan was very active with the football team, he also met an agent who recruited him to model in Miami, while still attending FIU. Behind the camera, being shy is not a trait of Haritan.

"When it comes to the camera I'm not shy at all," Haritan said.

Growing up wanting to be a model was far from Haritan's mind as a child; he always thought he would spend his time as an athlete.

"Since I was ten, I always thought I'd play football," Haritan said.

Coming to Miami to fulfill his dreams of football and playing for the Golden Panthers, has been a dream for Haritan.

"It's awesome down here and it's a beautiful campus," Haritan said.

Now entering his junior year at FIU, the Criminal Justice major is still excited at the thought of picking up his modeling career, after another successful season of football and moreover the opportunity to play Division I-A football.

"I want to try and help the team a lot this season," Haritan said.

Whether he is flirting with the camera beneath the flashes of a camera, or getting down and dirty on the football field, Haritan is sure about one thing: he will be successful at what he does, no matter what it is.

Nothing less can be expected from a player who compiled a 39-1 record in high school as a wrestler.

"It's all in the works right now," said Haritan who hopes he can standout in both modeling and the football field.

Source: The Beacon, 10/4/04

Abercrombie & Fitch Photo Shoot

Like the Abercrombie and Fitch Web site will tell you, its quarterly magazine is “more than just a catalog.” The site goes on to say that the “magalogue,” as it’s called by the A&F staff who put it together, is “irreverent, unbiased and sexy.”

All those words could describe the Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot that visited campus last Thursday (except maybe “unbiased”). The production brought with it four caterers, two seamstresses, four hair stylists, about two dozen Budget rental cars, roughly 30 models and one very famous fashion photographer (Bruce Weber, who according to one Web site is probably responsible for mainstreaming the homoerotic image in advertising). For at least one day, Swarthmore’s sexiness quotient was considerably elevated.

After all, it’s not every day that glancing outside a Sharples window during lunch can produce the following scene: four seriously beautiful people, three guys and one girl, all bopping around to the Beatles’ “Come Together,” while a short, stocky man in a black sweater, beret and pink scarf snaps photo after photo. Said man is surrounded by assistants who do all the work for him. When one of his several cameras is out of film, they remove it and place in his waiting hands another newly loaded camera, ready to shoot.

The three male models, of course, have their pants pulled down around their ankles, with chef’s hats on their heads, showing off A&F boxer-briefs. If you listen closely, you can hear them chatting, trying to impress the girl:

“I’m the naked chef!”

So why Swarthmore? Ask Sam Shahid, the shoot’s artistic director: “It gave the look we wanted,” he said. “This one just had the look we wanted, sort of that Ivy league look.”

Or Damon Reynolds, a “magalogue” editor who lives near Swarthmore: “A lot of people referred it,” he said. “Swarthmore was on everyone’s lips as far as a place to go.”

Also, according to Shahid, the “magalogue” editors wanted to capture the feeling of, “Kids in school, learning to be chefs, stuff like that.” The “kids” picked to portray those students are not your average fashion models. In fact, A&F says it usually will only hire “found” models. According to Shahid, they can come from anywhere. “A lot of them are found in colleges, beaches,” he said.

Though these kids are unusually beautiful, they seem to see themselves as very much like the students here at Swarthmore. Self-described as ages 18 to 22, most are in college: at UC Santa Barbara, or Santa Monica College. Though many were natives of California, others were from homes as diverse as Green Bay, Wis., Rochester, N.Y., Maui and the former Czechoslovakia. Each came to the modeling business (and the A&F shoot) through different avenues: auditions in Los Angeles, getting picked off the beach, through agents. One had been an employee in an Abercrombie store.

Ryan Toner, from Los Angeles, said it was strange “to be gawked at, because we’re just like you. I’ll bet there are plenty of people on this campus who could be doing this job.”

All of the models were very excited to be on the A&F shoot. “Working with Bruce Weber is amazing. You get jobs just from working with him,” Holly Lynch of Venice Beach, Calif., said. Toner agreed. “Abercrombie gives you so much exposure,” he said.

So could the same be said of Swat? Will an appearance in the much-anticipated, much-read (or at least skimmed) back-to-school issue give us exposure? And is that a good thing?

Tom Krattenmaker, director of the Office of News and Information, seemed to think so. “P.R. is never a precise science, so it’s hard to tell exactly what an institution gets out of this,” he said. “But I can tell what I think we get, and that’s visibility.” Krattenmaker said that not only the fashion world but also the worldin general would give Swarthmore more attention after its Abercrombie appearance. “Many young people, some of whom may be prospective students, could read the catalogue and become aware of Swarthmore,” he said.

And though Abercrombie sought out the college, Krattenmaker said accepting the shoot was part of the college’s ongoing mission to become “better known, better appreciated. And if that’s your premise, then you want to cooperate with people to make that happen.”

Source: Swathmore Phoenix April 11, 2002

Abercrombie & Fitch Photo Shoots

Last Thursday, the campus teemed with suppressed excitement as a horde of
50 Abercrombie and Fitch models descended upon Swarthmore for the store's
upcoming back-to-school catalogue, due out in the fall.

The clothing brand, famed for its preppy style, had looked at various other
college campuses within the Philadelphia area, such as Bryn Mawr, Arcadia,
U-Penn and Villanova, but eventually chose Swarthmore for their photo shoot.

Explained Mr. Damen Reynolds, who works with the production crew: "When we
were asked to look for a college campus, I asked the people living around
here and all of them mentioned Swarthmore. It's a beautiful campus!"

The crew, who arrived early Thursday morning and worked until sundown, took
photographs in areas all over campus, such as the Sharples kitchen, the
fieldhouse, and Parrish Beach.

This year's back-to-school issue will be based entirely in Philadelphia.
Locations that will be sharing space in the catalogue with Swarthmore
include Boat House Row and Merion.

Source: Swathmore Daily Gazette, March 8, 2002

Abercrombie & Fitch Male Model: Chad Raile

He was the underwear model for Ralph Lauren, the cover boy for Abercrombie and Fitch's 2001 Christmas catalog and is a regular on the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.

But all brawn and no brains doesn't apply to this K-State senior.

Chad Raile, despite his success in modeling, will graduate in May with a degree in kinesiology.

Raile's career began with an ad in the Collegian for a model search in the Kansas City area. He said he didn't expect much.

Suddenly, though, Raile, whose hometown of St. Francis, Kan., has a population of 1,200, was thrown into the world of big-city modeling. A Baltimore-based agency showed interest but with a few conditions.

"I was 200 lbs. and fairly healthy," Raile said. "They wanted me to cut back down to 175 and get tan. I thought I would give it a try."

After laying outside in the sun and regular workouts at the gym, Raile sent Polaroids of his new look to the agency and waited for a call.

In the meantime, the agency for Abercrombie and Fitch came to Baltimore, Raile said.

But by a strike of good luck, the Abercrombie photographer saw Raile's pictures lying on the agent's desk and asked to see a portfolio. There began Raile's career.

The photo shoot for Abercrombie's Christmas catalog was a weeklong job in Lake Placid, N.Y. Raile said he was nervous at first, but was able to quickly figure out what the photographers wanted.

"You don't just stand there and smile. You just relax and have fun," Raile said. "Most of the time they don't tell you how to move. If you're photogenic, you just kind of have it."

Every night, photographers would meet and discuss which models they wanted to keep.

"It was like 'Survivor,'" he said. "They all get together each night. They will probably only use seven guys and that doesn't mean you get into the catalog. They decide, 'did we get all the shots we wanted from this person?' That happens each night. There were two of us that made it the whole week."

But being a part of the catalog also meant adhering to Abercrombie's marketing strategy, which required nude modeling.

"They asked if I was willing to do nudes," Raile said. "I eventually got talked into it, and I agreed to do it. The last three or four days, my shots were in the mountains."

He said sitting in a stream completely naked while 15 people on the set evaluated the photos was uncomfortable at first.

"At first, it was really weird, but after that I got used to it," he said.

It was after his face appeared in the Abercrombie catalog that Raile's career really began to take off. He got an apartment in New York City for the summers and signed on with a New York City agency.

Since then, Raile has modeled for Joe Boxer, Tommy Hilfiger, Cosmo Girl, Cosmopolitan and Macy's Department Store, as well as the cover of an exercise magazine.

His most prestigious job, however, was a one-year contract with Ralph Lauren.

"It's on billboards, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Sports Illustrated," Raile said. "It was pretty exciting. I was the Polo underwear guy for a year."

Raile said that although being a model means a different lifestyle, it hasn't prevented him from being a regular college student.

"I work out at the Rec four times a week," he said. "I am not a freak about it. I am a hog. I will eat anything. I am not afraid to go to McDonalds. I like to go out to Aggieville and the clubs in New York. I just don't do it to the extreme."

During the summer, Raile attends castings every day, where he participates in test shots, usually in his underwear or in the company's clothes. He carries with him a composition card, which includes a head shot and four different looks as well as his height, weight and sizes.

If a company is interested in Raile, they will request his portfolio, which has 8x10 photos of his different jobs.

In addition to finishing college and fostering his modeling career, Raile is trying to break into the world of acting.

"That's where the big bucks are, but that's not why I am doing it," he said.

Raile started acting classes every other day for four hours with an acting coach.

"I had four auditions. I did good, and if you can get call-backs without acting class, that's good," he said. "It got me excited."

His first auditions were with the soap operas: "Days of Our Lives," "All My Children" and "As the World Turns." Although Raile said he is not interested in acting in a soap, the experience helped in his most recent audition for "Hack," a CBS drama on Saturday evenings starring David Morse.

"I came home for July 4, and I was helping with harvest," Raile said. "I was driving the truck and in between trying to memorize my lines."

After three callbacks, Raile made it to the top 10, but was not chosen.

When he graduates this spring, Raile will move to New York City, where he said he hopes to further is acting career and continue modeling. Eventually, though, he would like to claim Hollywood as his home.

"Hollywood tries to throw you in when you are young," he said. "I want to be good at what I do. I try to focus on acting and cross my fingers."

But amidst the bright lights and dreams of a movie-star future, Raile said he has to stay focused on his education as a Hollywood career is not guaranteed.

"I know it won't last forever. This is a job you don't have any control over," he said. "It could end anytime."

Source: Kansas State Collegian November 13, 2003

Abercrombie & Fitch Male Model: Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith


Ryan Smith, an 18-year-old University of Colorado astronomy student, may soon have his own "star" power.

The Parker native could be the next fresh face on an Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bag, cologne box or poster on the wall of the national chain's stores.Smith was one of 10 fab-faced folks from thousands across the country who made it through the A&F model search. He got back last week from his first shoot with famed fashion photog Bruce Weber in South Carolina, where Smith modeled A&F's Hollister clothing line.

Smith landed a job at the Abercrombie store in Park Meadows when he was picking up a friend at the store and was "discovered" by a manager, who hired him as its "shirtless greeter." The manager then recommended Smith to Maximum Talent, a Denver modeling agency, which signed him and submitted Smith's shots for the national shoot.

"The shoot was unbelievable," Smith told me. "We were seriously treated like kings. This will seriously launch my career."

Smith says he'll stay at school and keep his "shirtless" job at A&F until more modeling offers roll in. "With modeling, I want to see the world. I want to experience people and places."

Check out "Ryan S.," a clean-cut hunk, at maxtalent.com on the male models page.

Source: Rocky Mountain News, April 12, 2006