Of course, I have no idea what the cool kids are wearing. (I admit to feeling bad for so many young women who can’t afford to buy new jeans and are forced to go around wearing pants with rips all over the legs.) I do see a lot of high-schoolers with “Hollister” featured prominently on their clothes. It makes me wonder if the people buying the Hollister brand would be so eager to display it if they had ever been to Hollister, California.
Abercrombie and Fitch created the Hollister brand in 2000 to appeal to 14-to-18 year-olds. Hollister merchandise is priced about 20% lower than A & F. There are now about 500 Hollister outlets in the U.S., mostly in malls. They also operate stores in Europe and Asia.
The Hollister theme is southern California, surfing in particular. The motif was to enter the store through the front porch of a beach house, although that is now being updated. Stores had a live video feed from the pier at Surf City, aka Huntington Beach.
Hollister CA (population 34,928) is located 344 miles north of Huntington Beach, or forty miles inland from the nearest surf, in Santa Cruz. Rather than a claim to surfing, Hollister is one of several California cities boasting to be “Earthquake Capital of the World.” The Calaveras Fault, part of the San Andreas Fault system, bisects the city. (Hollister is twenty-five miles from Castroville, the “Artichoke Center of the World,” and fifteen from Gilroy, the “Garlic Capital of the World.”)
Hollister is perhaps better known to many as the locale for the irregularly “Annual” Hollister Independence Motorcycle Rally held around the Fourth of July. Irregular because for various financial and security reasons, the event was not held in 2006 nor from 2009 to 2012. The recent rallies drew an estimated 150,000 people to town.
But getting back to the Hollister brand: Abercrombie & Fitch has not hesitated to threaten legal action against local businesses that dare to use the name “Hollister” on their merchandise.
And then there’s Tacoma, Washington. Do people familiar with the city wonder why Toyota’s “Tacoma” pickup truck is so popular? Tacoma, the target of sneers from cosmopolitan Seattle, a few miles north, is a working-class town with its share of problems. It’s perceived as a center of gang activity; it lacks the high-tech aura of its larger neighbor. But it’s also a thriving port city. It could be that’s a good image for a pickup truck. If it’s a Tacoma, it’s got to be tough. Toyota sold 179,562 of them in 2015.