The Abercrombie Age

Millennial Aspiration and the Promise of Consumer Culture

By Myles Ethan Lascity

The Abercrombie Age

216 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 105 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8091-0
    Published: October 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-8090-3
    Published: October 2024

Paperback Available October 2024, but pre-order your copy today!

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Be popular and good-looking—it's the key to a happy life. Luckily, with a bit of know-how and money, you, too, can have it all. At least, that's what teen pop culture was selling in surround sound at the turn of the millennium. From movies like Clueless to TV's Dawson's Creek to the music videos on MTV's Total Request Live and the catalogs of Abercrombie & Fitch, a consumer-minded ethos drove pop culture storytelling as millennials came of age in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But in the long shadow of the Great Recession, the upwardly mobile aspirations fostered by the era's popular culture and media seem to have been thwarted. Many millennials today lack the wealth their parents had at the same age, and the gaps between rich and poor rival those of the Gilded Age.

The Abercrombie Age reconsiders teen popular culture from the turn of the twenty-first century, revealing how it told young people that life not only could but surely would get better. Far from frivolous or forgettable, the era's superficial, materialistic culture sold millennials unrealistic expectations of what life could offer, setting up a stark juxtaposition with the realities of today.

About the Author

Myles Ethan Lascity is assistant professor and director of the fashion media program at Southern Methodist University.
For more information about Myles Ethan Lascity, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"The Abercrombie Age is an informed and timely investigation of early 2000s teen culture. Through thoughtful analyses of nostalgic media texts—from A&F Quarterly to Clueless—Lascity argues convincingly that millennials were sold a false promise of affluence that has not come to fruition. It will surely resonate with readers interested in pop culture, media, fashion, and their impacts on American culture."—Lauren Downing Peters, author of Fashion Before Plus-Size: Bodies, Bias, and the Birth of an Industry

"With measured reasoning and an eye for detail, Lascity deftly catalogs the changing seasons of millennial culture, revealing how fashion advertising came to clothe a wide collection of aspirational identities."—Kevin L. Ferguson, author of Eighties People: New Lives in the American Imagination