I first experienced Abercrombie and Fitch whilst working at London Fashion Week in september 2008 at Burlington Gardens. The venue was opposite the flagship store on Saville Row Piccadilly and we would skip over every lunch break to have a snapshot with one of their topless models.
The shop is tucked away off the main high street away from the hubbub of london’s busy streets, providing a sanctuary for escapism from your busy day at work. Baring a resemblance to a high society exclusive club (had it not been for the long queue of girls snaking around the building), abercrombie has reconstructed a magnificent vintage building into a pleasure land. Substituting conventional shop design in favour of blacked out windows and traditional architecture. As a stark contrast abercrombie’s high-tech sound system lures the outsider into the private world, their strong perfumes seeping down the street awakening the senses of the passer-by, is it possible to enter without an invitation?
Rich and vibrant wallpapers, pine flooring, gold framed mirrors and hanging chandeliers are hardly interiors you would mix with club lighting and an injecting bass soundtrack, but this emporium offers something more than just a pleasant shopping experience. Could it be the perfectly chiselled sale advisors, the erotic images and film footage of perfect american models on the beach, or perhaps the topless man standing in the doorway – abercrombie sells sex, and lots of it.
Walk into Hollister or the British equivalent Jack Wills, and as the myth suggests, buy a hoody, fall in love with a surfer and live happily ever after. While this is a fairytale (I hardly believe a hoody with a shop’s name on it will help me find my Ken) it presents a culture and lifestyle we aspire too, albeit just for harmless escapism. Both abercrombie and hollister have their own playlists to set the mood of their brand, but the british jack wills goes a little bit further as to offer unsigned band gigs, seasonnaires, events and parties to steer the consumer into their way of life.
However dare I say it the lifestyle is more appealing than the clothes themselves, while I sometimes find an odd top or jumper, in general they are too over priced and over rated for me to buy a whole wardrobe. In short we are spending £50 or more for a name advertised on a jumper, however their success rate still highlights classic status. At the end of the day abercrombie is a drug that will seduce me, and a million others to come back over and over again – even if it is just for a taste of the perfect life.
Please visit their home websites for more information on playlists and events.