The Elusive Abercrombie & Fitch Hunter S. Thompson Safari Jacket
Those that are familiar with the Coco's Epic Want List know that I searched for a Abercrombie & Fitch or LL Bean Rainbow patchwork Safari jacket for about 10 years. My fiending went so far as to print business cards to aid my search.
After many false starts, dead leads and outrageous eBay asking prices, I finally found a Kerr's Sport Shop jacket about 18 months ago. Actually, the jacket found me, as a fellow in Indianapolis found my online want list. During a trip west, he bought the jacket around 1976 at Kerr's in Beverly Hills from Alex Kerr himself.
When I was a kid, I went to Kerr's Sport Shop - the Abercrombie of the west - and marveled at the civility of the store. The gentleman that worked the gun counter wore jackets and ties and were extremely patient and kindly to me. My first air gun came from Kerr's and I still own a Kerr's custom shop pre-64 Winchester Model 70 with a thumb hole stock that was re-chambered from .300 Winchester to .300 Weatherby Mag.
Though my interest in Kerr's is keen, I did not know they made a version of the jacket. And in fact, I don't think they did make the jacket. I believe by the mid-'70s, there was a private label company making these jackets for a number of retailers. The care label on the Kerr's jacket is attached by machine stitching, while the Kerr's label was hand sewn in.
About 6 months ago, I was contacted by an individual that had bought a true A & F size 12 women's jacket on Etsy and was interested in selling it. I explained that I had landed my white whale and my financial interest was limited. We struck a deal and I ended up with another one.
It is a wildly different jacket than my Kerr's jacket. I am not a scholar on the subject, but I have learned that finding THE jacket is not as clear as you would think.
Of the jackets I have seen, there are three clear categories:
I would still like one of the early rounded collar, size 40 jackets from LL or A&F, though I am no longer willing to pay $1000 for the privilege of adding to my collection. The Kerr's jacket is very special to me because of my personal interest in Kerr's Sport Shop, but I believe it is less attractive and desirable jacket to the originals. The collar is too big, the colors are not as good and it feels a little too 70's for me.
About once a month I get an inquiry regarding the jackets. People are often trying to recreate the jackets and need detail pics of the real jacket - but there isn't one real jacket. Also, I hope that this page provides some clarity in the marketplace on values - in other words, the early LL and A&F are "the good ones." The later pointy collar are the less good/desirable. The Berdorf/Neiman are a different animal altogether. These, naturally, are just my subjective opinions on the topic.
If you have a jacket for sale, I would be interested in buying it - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cool Update: As mentioned above, people contact me from time to time to inquire about specific details or measurements of the A&F Safari jackets. That is in fact why I created this page, to share what I know about them. After sharing several highly detailed emails with a fellow named Robert, he actually recreated the jacket! What a wonderful job he did!
Robert's Re-creation of the Famed A&F Jacket
The Abercrombie & Fitch Jacket Woman's Size 12
The Kerr's Sport Shop Jacket Men's Size 40