|No.3 Savile Row as seen on Google Maps (2011).|
Image used for illustrative purposes only.
The children's label of classic American prep-school cool is to be housed at No.3 Savile Row; and ever since the intentions of Abercrombie & Fitch were made public back in 2011, there have been heated opinions over the matter. Tensions, between the Company and the Row's reputable bespoke tailors, have remained on the world-renown street ever since the arrival of A&F even before its March 2007 flagship store inauguration. Now continuing to proceed into the 2010s, the Company's presence at its end of the Row has overwhelmingly amplified after the 2011 leasing agreements extension at 7 Burlington Gardens (42 Savile Row) to 2021 and as prospects develop, expanding its footprint, ahead for its children's wear label only a stone's throw away. The traditional nature of Savile Row is being threatened: so feel its establishments which have composed its storied historic significance. However, as one of the most clarifying statements out of this whole argument states...
"[...] The old street has no real relationship with the contemporary world, and this is its biggest problem. Savile Row made its name in the early 19th century by helping modern men to adapt their riding breeches into the suit we still recognise today. It has not displayed such enlightened thinking in the 21st century, (why not a suit adapted for commuter bike riding?). [...H]andmade doesn't need to mean heritage. Savile Row needs to adapt its crafts to the modern world – and fast." - Charlie Porter, The Guardian [source]
Furthermore, as Joseph Morgan, director of Savile Row tailor Chittleborough & Morgan, recently commented to CNBC, "The street is known for providing quality and bespoke clothes to the world. Ready-to-wear chains want to say they're in Savile Row to boost their profile - but it won't work unless they're providing bespoke suits. [This with Abercrombie & Fitch] would bring a new, young atmosphere to the street, and might open-up bespoke tailoring to a younger audience." And there is truth in his words: conscious awareness of Savile Row and bespoke tailoring has grown tremendously across various new consumer demographics via the universal appeal of Abercrombie & Fitch. A&F consumers cannot be lumped under one pathetic, ignorant stereotype. The brand's appeal is universal, awareness of the Row and its crafts have spread farther, and new aspirational and conscious clientele will most likely come out of this in the future for the Row.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is, of course, content to proceed in opening abercrombie kids on No.3 Savile Row (also called the "Apple Building" after having been headquarters to The Beatles; it was on its rooftop where they made their last live performance back in January 1969; and Peter Shaw of Executive Offices Group once purchased it in 2007 for £17 million (€19.554 million / US$27.146 million)). The Company has been prohibited from blacking out the windows, using strip lighting, a flagpole, and from hosting an opening "party". But naturally, that is not getting in the way of the realization of this beautiful upcoming store.
Back in 2011, when the Company set its interests on the location, Abercrombie was initially looking for 10,000 square feet (939 square meters) though 3 Savile Row was ultimately offering 14,000 square feet (1,301 square meters) in total. Abercrombie & Fitch will have to renovate the building to convert the basement, ground level, and lower floors to accommodate its retail plans. The project was seen as expensive, but A&F has a sufficiently "strong balance sheet" to fund the renovations.
Honestly, there is a no more appropriate location for abercrombie kids in London than 3 Savile Row. The building is ideal for the smaller, aspirational brand, and, in London, the little one will have a place of its own in Europe for the first time. However, in this new, exciting venture, it will only be right across the street from its great older sibling!
As for the opening: perhaps sometime in the Spring-Summer 2014 season. You'll be kept updated...