2022-08-10

 

In this documentary from Alison Klayman (“The Brink”), the “rise” part of the story is patronizing and tedious. Subjects offer inflated descriptions of Abercrombie’s centrality in American life and explain the ’90s in comically condescending terms. “MTV, the Video Music Awards and the ‘House of Style’ television show gave flyover country access to the things that they wouldn’t see ordinarily,” says Alan Karo, a marketing executive. Patrick Carone, a former editor at Abercrombie’s quarterly magazine, enlightens viewers on the concept of a mall: “Imagine, like, a search engine that you could walk through.”

The documentary gets more substantive when the “fall” component kicks in. Former employees share descriptions of encountering more or less open racism working at the company, whose advertising courted white, wealthy consumers. But these stories aren’t new (multiple interviewees were among the class-action plaintiffs). And while the movie provides encouraging evidence of how much societal sensibilities have changed, it is fundamentally dressing up well-worn material.

White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 28 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

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