Abercrombie & Fitch will showcase designs by Indiana University graduates as part of its fall collection, which debuts worldwide on Thursday.

INDIANAPOLIS – Visit any Abercrombie & Fitch store around the world today and you’ll see the creations of an Indy local gracing the shelves. Fashion influencer Kathleen Post had a hand in designing the pieces that are now featured in her eponymous fall collection, Abercrombie x Kathleen Post, which launched on Thursday.

“It’s a very shocking moment,” Post said of seeing her own designs displayed for the first time at Keystone Fashion Mall. “It’s a dream come true. I never would have imagined creating my own collection that is sold in Europe, Canada and across the country in stores and online. Really, it boggles my mind.”

Post said Abercrombie & Fitch executives first approached her a year ago to start designing clothes for the group. Her relationship with the brand began in 2017, when she began showcasing its clothes and products on her Instagram account.

“It was probably about six months after I was constantly sharing it, and Abercrombie noticed and they reached out to me and said, ‘Oh, hey, we see you like our products.’ We’d love to work with you in some way. And that was still a long time ago. But since then, We’ve done small partnerships over the years.”

While Post eventually went on to design her own jeans for Abercrombie & Fitch in 2020, the process for the Kathleen Post x Abercrombie collection was much more intense. She traveled to New York City last November to start working with the designers on their team, and had a say in what colors, fabrics, and patterns to include.

Post said it wasn’t as if the company just put her name on a collection and celebrated her day — it gave her a hands-on say in some of the smallest details that made her feel like it truly embodied her fashion sense.

“Everything from how things are cut to how they fit on your body. The strap details, everything. It was really cool to work with the design team, because they would actually design it in front of me on the computer,” Post said.

Post said it was an amazing experience to be a part of the design process from the beginning until now, and that the collaboration features the cornerstones of her personal style: sophisticated, elegant, easy pieces that can last all year long.

“Sometimes, with fashion, it can seem like I’m really wild and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ I could never wear that.’ That’s not the way I like to dress, and I didn’t want anyone to look at this collection and say, ‘Oh, I could never do that.'” Post said: “I wanted this to be something that could Anyone can wear it in their own style.”

Her collection with the brand comes at a time when Abercrombie & Fitch is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Years of restructuring efforts and the introduction of comprehensive initiatives have helped reintroduce the brand to a new Gen Z audience.

At the end of August, it was reported that Abercrombie & Fitch saw net sales growth of 16%, and that its net income for the three-month period rose to $56.9 million. The company expects net sales to rise about 10% for the full fiscal year, up from $3.7 billion the previous year, according to a report by CNBC.

“We’ve talked about it before, but we’re no longer a jeans and T-shirt brand. We’re definitely a lifestyle brand today,” CEO Franz Horowitz told CNBC in an interview.

It makes sense, then, that lifestyle and fashion influencers like Post have contributed to the company’s popularity. Harnessing the power of influencers like Post, who are skilled at fostering consumer loyalty within their own corners of the internet, has allowed the company to connect with its more than 400,000 Instagram followers and 150,000 TikTok followers, with whom it has built a relationship.

“Here I am, eight years later, and this collaboration with Abercrombie was not something I could have thought of at the time,” Post said.

She said it wasn’t a sudden, meteoric rise for Post at first. When I started posting on Instagram in 2015, the impact was still in its infancy — TikTok didn’t exist, let alone vertical videos or stories.

She didn’t see results at first, but she kept pushing. It paid off.

“I think the thing I always tried to remind myself when I was starting out is that this isn’t something that’s a quick, overnight success. If it’s something that you really love, you’ll be willing to work at it long term,” he said. “I don’t have the biggest following in the world, you know, but I do have my audience and they seem to fit in with my personal style. Trust that it doesn’t happen overnight. But when you add value to people, you’ll find the right people.”

As for the Indiana University graduate who stayed in state, she said it was gratifying to know she could make an impact in the fashion industry without leaving home.

“I think it’s a huge honor. Sometimes you can feel like, oh, you know. Who am I, I only live in the Midwest or I live in Indiana. I need to live in New York or L.A. or one of these big cities to be in the country,” Post said. “I noticed that. But the thing is, people in Indiana like to shop too, you know. There are opportunities everywhere.”

Having her own collection with Abercrombie & Fitch reaffirms what she said is her favorite part of being an influencer — helping everyday people navigate what their personal style means and providing inspiration along the way.

“That’s the thing I love most about my job is being able to put together an outfit that anyone can easily recreate, and feeling like they have more confidence when they get ready on the day,” Post said. “It brought tears to my eyes just reading their messages. So that’s really the best part of this, and obviously it’s a lot of fun and taking pictures with Abercrombie, but that’s really the best part of it all.”

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