Pardon the horrible pun, I couldn’t resist. Given my recent musings on the Abercrombie/Hollister brand, I found the news that The Chap magazine is launching a petition to stop plans for another Abercrombie & Fitch shop to be opened on the hallowed ground of Savile Row rather amusing. I imagine they were rather taken aback to discover they were considered to be below the standard for this exclusive area of London, given how keen they are to cultivate a sense of exclusivity to their brand. They did, after all, recently pay cast members of Jersey Shore (the American equivalent of Geordie Shore) not to wear their clothes onscreen.
The Chap magazine has a point, though. Savile Row is one of the few remaining bastions of good old-fashioned fine tailoring skill, and its bespoke suits have been hailed as the best in the world for over 200 years. With big brands like Abercrombie inching onto the scene, these traditions are under threat.
The petition will be formally presented to Westminster council, and has over 500 signatures already. David Coleridge of H. Huntsman & Sons said, “The arrival of Abercrombie & Fitch at the end of Savile row would dramatically change not just the tone but the safety of the street”.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, The Chap editor Gustav Temple, said: “Once that store is allowed to exist, there is no reason why other large chain stores, also peddling overpriced casual wear and T-shirts bearing slogans, will begin to fill up the other buildings.” It seems he’s right – according to Drapers, there has been a similar furore over the hipster brand The Kooples, who also want to open a shop on the street.
“This isn’t simply about resisting the global spread of chain stores, which market forces have made inevitable. It’s about preserving a little corner of Englishness in London. It’s only one street, for goodness’ sake, and why shouldn’t it remain exclusively dedicated to bespoke tailoring?” asks Temple.
If you want to help save Savile Row, you can sign the petition here.