Whatever Happened To Abercrombie & Fitch-Owned Ruehl No.925?

If you were a teen in the early aughts, you can likely recall all too well the images of preppy Abercrombie & Fitch models scantily clad in the store's windows, and of course, the signature scent that wafted from the entrance in a not so subtle manner. However, you may or may not remember the mega brand — known for its controversial "look policy" and discriminatory hiring practices — going on to launch yet another brand aimed at young adults aged 22 to 35: Ruehl No.925.


The Y2K brand was a short-lived dream and stores were closed by January 2010 due to the "economic environment," as announced by Abercrombie & Fitch (via Apparel Search). According to Tomorrow's News Today, the dimly lit stores were odd and confusing to potential customers. Additionally, with clothing items at around a 30% higher price point than those available at Abercrombie & Fitch, they didn't succeed as hoped, despite the brand's efforts. Some believed this was because young adults entering the workforce typically weren't ready to pay the steeper prices at Ruehl No.925. 

Ruehl No.925 offered a post-grad aesthetic

The stores that opened in September 2004 were designed to look and feel like a Greenwich Village apartment, complete with a library and other rooms inside. "Ruehl is the fantasy of college kids of America moving from Indiana to the big city. What do you want to do after college — move to New York and make it there," Mick Jeffries, who was the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch from 1992 to 2014, told Women's Wear Daily in 2004.


The clothing at Ruehl No.925 was designed to be a mature extension of Abercrombie & Fitch, with the same quality and overall aesthetic — just a bit more grown up. And as A&F's younger sister brand Hollister had been a big success, it seems natural to assume that another branch geared at the slightly older demographic would also fare well, but that wasn't the case. In addition, an online store was not launched with the opening of the storefronts, as Jeffries wanted customers to experience the environment firsthand. This could have also contributed to the brand's lack of success.

You can still find Ruehl No.925 on resale sites

If you remember the Ruehl No.925 days and are yearning for the nostalgia of the upscale post-grad aesthetic of the era, sites like eBay, ThreadUp, and PoshMark have you covered. From Greenwich Villagers T-shirts and low-rise denim to faux fur parkas and ballet flats, all the staples of the early aughts are still readily available secondhand at relatively fair prices for retro pieces. And with the reemergence of many Y2K trends as of late, it's a prime time to scour resale sites for iconic shirts and jeans from brands that are no longer breathing, like Ruehl No.925.


Even if the brand was ultimately a short-lived venture due to the times, some of the now retro pieces Ruehl No.925 put out perfectly encapsulate the early 2000s, and for that we can be pretty grateful. "It has been a difficult decision to close RUEHL, a brand we continue to believe could have been successful in different circumstances," Mick Jeffries said in a 2009 statement of the store's closures (via Apparel Search). "However, given the current economic environment, we believe it is in the best interests of the Company to focus its efforts and resources on the growth opportunities afforded by our other brands, particularly internationally,"