Abercrombie & Fitch drops collaboration collection with Harlem’s Fashion Row participant Nicole Benefield

Abercrombie & Fitch drops collaboration collection with Harlem’s Fashion Row participant Nicole Benefield

Abercrombie & Fitch

In a first for the retailer, the collaboration involves tapping Nicole Benefield, a designer who bowed at the agency known not only for its yearly designers of color group show but also as a conduit for brand strategy, new media, experiential marketing, and collaborations.

Brandice Daniel (left) and Nicole Benefield – Courtesy

The trio feted the new collection with a party in Chelsea. FashionNetwork.comat the launch party in New York.
“We have partnered with Harlem’s Fashion Row, working with them corporately and on some panels. Initially, it wasn’t the intention to work on product together. Brandice is such a force with this incredible organization that we wanted to do something bigger,” said Collins Krug backstage at the event.

The idea was born about a year ago, and with no set deadline in mind, the CMO received a selection of designers from the 2022 Harlem’s Fashion Row fashion show event held yearly in New York. Among the suggestions was Benefiled.

“I wanted it to be an organic fit. When the merchandising and design teams saw Nicole’s work, everyone highlighted it,” she continued, confirming that it was a first for Abercrombie & Fitch. In the past, the closest thing to this was edits, curations, or iterations of existing merchandise by influencers or other public figures.
For her part, Benefield was the perfect partner on many levels. Describing her namesake brand as “casual sophistication,” the designer felt a synergy immediately.

“When I saw what they were working on, it felt like what I wear on the weekend. I know that brand and customer; I am that customer. My brand is more sophisticated and less weekend,” Benefield said, adding, “The team and I looked for the middle space between what they do and what I do. I knew right away what it needed to feel like. My brand DNA is the same as Abercrombie’s for how I want my customers to feel. We took the cargo pant, for instance, not trendy but spot-on silhouettes that you need of the moment and put them in my neutral color palette.”


The 25-piece range of men’s and women’s styles is priced between $40 and $200 and executed in a palette of grey khaki, grey, black, and terracotta. The collection will be available in-store at over 200 U.S. and North American retail locations, select UK, European, and Middle East and stores, and Abercrombie.com. Another reason Benefield was perfect for the pair-up is her resume includes roles at other mass-distributed brands such as Ann Taylor Loft, The Limited, and Banana Republic
It’s also a first design-wise for the designer who has professionally only designed women’s clothes.

“I tend to have a more masculine approach, so it was effortless. I did some men’s in school, so I wasn’t afraid. I look at men’s for inspiration, and I love its color palette,” she admitted.

Benefield met with both the men’s and women’s heads of design to determine a style to take across both lines.

“Cargos are going to have a moment, so I knew it would be the line’s anchor,” she said. The line also includes a unisex bomber jacket, knitwear, utility jackets, and signature buttons are also in the offerings.
For the Harlem’s Fashion Row designer—who just showed her sophomore effort for the group show in September whose own line, Nicole Benefield Portfolio, is sold online and described as ‘small batch’—the partnership will build her brand awareness. The partnership will include a campaign aired in-store, online, and social media channels.
It is precisely what Daniel has aimed to do since founding Harlem’s Fashion Row 16 years ago.

“This one is really special as it’s a first with Nicole and Abercrombie & Fitch. We haven’t had a lot of partnerships that reach a global audience,” said Daniel.

The CEO and her team select designers to show two years in a row, allowing the brand’s evolution to be displayed. Past collaborations include brands such as Jimmy ChooTimberlandNike
For their part, Abercrombie is equally pumped.

“Our team is passionate and fulfilled by this project and loves Nicole. It was important to be authentic with Nicole, putting her vision through the Abercrombie aesthetic. We have mass-selling expertise, but we don’t have Nicole, so it’s putting these two talents together. That is what this collaboration is,” Collins Krug summed up.

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