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Abercrombie & Fitch Shakes Up Savile Row

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 26, 2012 10:02 AM

London’s Savile Row has long been the home of some of the world’s finest tailors. Everybody from Winston Churchill to Elton John and MI5's dashing James Bond has gotten their clothes made there. The street has been around since the early 1730s but didn’t become a tailoring hub until the early 1800s.

It got a shot of cool and street cred back in the ‘60s when the Beatles opened its Apple Records studios, but it’s still better known as the place for the monied classes to secure their waistcoats, cutaway tails, and other tailoring needs for hundreds of years.

A recent change on the “golden mile of tailoring,” however, has got a few bespoke knickers in a twist. Abercrombie & Fitch just opened a children’s store along the Row and some folks weren't happy, as evidenced by a flash mob protest against A&F that was organized by the wannabe dandies at The Chap magazine on that bastion of British fine tailoring.

“A modest band of chaps and chapettes descended upon Savile Row on Monday to protest” the store, the Guardian noted. That would be The Chap's slightly tongue-in-cheek dandy mob, wielding "Give Three-Piece a Chance" signs, who simply cannot abide the idea of selling T-shirts and (shudder!) cargo pants on the Row.

Their self-appointed task: protecting the "quality, style, tradition" at the cornerstone of Savile Row, of course.

“It was here that tailors made the uniform worn by Horatio Nelson when he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar,” as the Guardian notes. “(I)t was here that Edward VII invented the dinner jacket. Savile Row is where the 20th century's most iconic fashion moments were dreamt up.”

It's also where Mike Jeffries, the flip-flop wearing, "dude"-spouting, Californian CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, gets his suits made, and wants to see his multibillion-dollar brand too.

The paper points out that consumers can pretty much go anywhere in Britain and find a store such as Abercrombie & Fitch. Unfortunately, that appears to be happening to the Row as well. Another clothes chain, the Kooples, has also applied to open a store on Savile Row.

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