Abercrombie and Fitch, of course, were the two older brothers of Nephi in the Book of Mormon, older than Laman and Lemuel, the ones we often read about. Abercrombie (Hebrew for “less is more”) and Fitch (Hebrew for “yuck!”) were trendy moguls of fashion in Jerusalem and were the reason why the family had silver and gold. Unfortunately, they were not only rebellious, but utterly shocked their parents in the New World by introducing immodest styles for men such as their “Nothing But a Loincloth®” line that became an instant hit with many locals in the hot climate of Mesoamerica. (Scholars to this day fail to recognize that many ancient Mesoamerican carvings and figurines of mostly naked people were actually part of early advertising campaigns for Abercrombie and Fitch’s fashion shop and the related businesses spawned by their breakthroughs in fashion.)
Lehi was so disgusted that he burned their beautifully illustrated catalog, forcing Abercrombie and Fitch to start engraving their designs on metal plates which could not be so easily by fire. Yes, that’s where the idea actually got started. Nephi tried to stop their repulsive business by stealing the plates and later realized he could use them for his own record, starting another enduring trend among his people. But Abercrombie and Fitch only escalated their business, drawing upon the shrewd business skills of their brother Laman who helped draw numerous locals and much of Lehi’s family into the fold of their scantily-clad customers.
Lehi disowned them and decreed that there should be no mention of those two sons in any family records. And as the current record indicates, tensions between Nephi’s group and his more fashion-conscious siblings escalated, forcing Nephi to head north in hopes of living life in a more modest environment. But once a fashion trend starts, it’s hard to stop, and soon the land was sprawling with “Lamanites” – Nephi’s euphemism for those who dressed with appalling bad taste (staying true to Lehi’s command to never mention Abercrombie and Fitch again).
That ancient business has been revived in our day. Some of us find it ironic that showing people without much clothing is how one sells clothing these days. In any case, it is my opinion that the marketing approach of that store verges on the pornographic and certainly appeals to prurient interests and the glorification of immorality to advance its bottom line. In fact, a recent catalog apparently even has full nudity, drawing serious complaints from the tiny minority of parents who pay attention to what their kids are being exposed to. While the Church has not made any statements on this business, the leaders of our Church stridently urge us to avoid immodesty, pornography, and unwholesome media. My personal advice is for parents to keep their kids out of that store, keep them off the catalog mailing list, and encourage them to avoid their products. It’s very popular among teenagers, but their parents rarely know what kind of messages are being sent to the kids who shop there.
(This was just added to my one of my Mormon Answers pages.)