American high street brand Abercrombie & Fitch recently raised the world’s eyebrows by setting to open a children wear chain store on Savile Row NO.3, right in the middle of the heartland street of England bespoke tailoring since 1864. This action provoked a series of disturbances as Savile Row Bespoke Association publicly against the invasion and the protest by British magazine "The Chap" upholding the well-heeled image of Savile Row.
It is no longer a secret that A&F has been suffering a financial drop down since last year around 52% according to the previously second quarter results announcement. Due to brash expansion, the unwise rapid amplification results in the unbalance of supply and demand and it finally forced A&F to withdrawal of their homeland. In past two years more than a hundred chain stores had shut down across America, they have only themselves to blame. Therefore it is somehow understandable that the only way to survive the brand is turn to seek for oversea market, which evidently is what A&F fully concentrated on recently. Following the opening in Hong Kong, the flagship in Amsterdam, Dublin, Munich and Hamburg will also opening this year, as well as the controversial station in Savile Row.
Despite their best-known nightclub-style fussy opening party including barely-dressed models, heavy music and crowds of teenagers, we must question the morality behind the brand in the way they promote themselves upon their internal financial crisis, seemingly all the fusses is just a mask to cover the failure of their business. The concept of using topless model as a means for promoting garments is also baffling. If they are suggesting that the best way to sell fashion is to anti-fashion just as the message brought out in Andersen’s Fairy tale ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, the approach to Saviel Row, which is the cradle of bespoke menswear, would then be self-contradiction. Apparently A&F beliefs the popularity from masses is a way to survive and thus the plot of hot model fantasy that created to allure the masses is understandable, the brash and aggressive approach to Savile Row however reveals their ambition. The half-naked models may stirred a sensation in Hong Kong, but when the bubble of hallucinating hottest models burst, we can’t help but wonder, can A&F regain form the week lasting flamboyant opening or the hollow image of locating in one of the highest-end menswear area? Let’s wait and see.
By Jennifer Chan - Fashion Writer for A-SHU.CO.UK.