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Monday, March 12, 2012

Abercrombie Kids Plans have Savile Row on Fire!

No.3 Savile Row as seen on Google Maps.
Our reader Chris pointed out to us a developing issue on Savile Row in London. Apparently, the good tailors on the street are in an uproar that Abercrombie & Fitch now wants to expand its presence on the Row by opening the first abercrombie kids in England at 3 Savile Row!

We first reported about A&F's plans, to open up a kids store, back in October 2011. You can read that detailed post (here). The Company had, by then, been in the process of closing a deal on leasing No.3 Savile Row for abercrombie kids. Everything eventually came through and Abercrombie & Fitch made it official by February 2012 that it would indeed be opening the UK's first abercrombie.

Well, Savile Row is pissed. The respected tailoring houses lining the prestigious, historic Row completely object what they perceive to be an expansion of chain retailing into their exclusive turf. Seriously, they have a very negative image of Abercrombie & Fitch: "If it carries on like this, the Row will just become another chain-store high street. Why would anyone allow a great big dollop of American cheese to smother centuries of history and tradition?" commented an anonymous tailor.[source 1] These people completely hate the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch is a charged, youth-and-sex-oriented, global fashion retailer selling imported, machine-made clothing which is contrasted against the uptight, detailed and unique tailoring practices of the Savile Row menswear business. And that there are usually loads of people outside of the A&F flagship, lined up to enter or just hanging out, doesn't sit well with them at all: "The arrival of Abercrombie & Fitch at the end of Savile Row has dramatically changed not just the tone, but the safety of the street," shared H.Huntsman & Sons.


One of the biggest objectors is Gieves & Hawkes from which A&F on Savile Row is only just a stone's throw away. It just so happens, too, that the tailoring firm is situated at building No.1. So not only will Gieves & Hawkes have A&F across the street, but it will also have abercrombie kids to the right of it two doors down. That end of Savile Row will be the epicenter of Abercrombie & Fitch in London massive crowds of fans, promotional events, etc. and Gieves & Hawkes will have it all in its face!

The Daily Mail UK did coverage of the ordeal with an article which comes across as rather biased. Titled Get back! Savile Row shops resist U.S invader opening children's shop in former home of Beatles' record label, it casts the Savile Row businesses as noblemen in what it calls "a march against vulgar consumerism." While only briefly mentioning that "A&F began in 1892 as a high class sports outfitter," the article completely focuses on the early-2000s Abercrombie & Fitch, back when the Company was criticized for its then brash image, and it paints the brand in an intentionally crude light while completely failing to note that such an A&F, as in the early-2000s, no longer exists. That Abercrombie & Fitch is portrayed as a "U.S. invader" is made obvious. This lead a reader of the article to comment that the reporting was all just "another anti-American hit piece by the DM."

That the good tailors on Savile Row want to protect their heritage is understandable. They, after all, are Savile Row; it is they who've made the street renown in the world. Many of them have been makers of fine menswear since the 18th century and their clientele has included the movers and shakers of England - prominent, powerful and revered men from the pages of English history books. Sure, Abercrombie & Fitch clothing is not on par to that of these tailors - they both are on totally different tangents. But let's not fail to keep in mind that Abercrombie & Fitch has cleaned up its image since the early-2000s and is, despite its youth-and-sex-inclined image, which is clean and aspirational, a globally respected fashion retailer. It keeps to itself and is relatively well behaved...

Relax Savile Row! The kids are all right!

Stay FIERCE!