Abercrombie & Fitch appeal against Savile Row ban on nightclub-style launch party for new London store openingAll-American store known for brash launch parties featuring pumping music and bare-chested male modelsTraditional tailors in the area fear presence of brand will threaten 'unique' character of area
07:07 GMT, 21 August 2012
When Aberbrombie & Fitch first pitched up next to London's genteel Savile Row in 2007 eyebrows were raised across the city.
Local businesses made it quite clear that the brash American high street brand was not welcome in this well-heeled district, home to the country's finest bespoke tailors since 1864.
Once the store on Mayfair's Vigo Street had been completed Abercrombie & Fitch did little to quell its neighbours' fears that they would damage the area's distinguished reputation by throwing a nightclub-style opening party including barely-dressed models, pumping music and crowds of teenagers.
Savile Row has been home to bespoke tailoring businesses since the late 19th century
Fast forward five years and the company's two West End stores are so successful that they are set to open a standalone childrenswear shop – directly on prestigious Savile Row.
And once again the neighbours are far from happy.
The disgruntled tailors have put down their well-shod feet and demonstrations, online petitions and continued lobbying have led to a ban on a raucous launch event for the new store by Westminster council.
It has particularly stipulated that no celebrity opening is allowed, and the store – famous for its relaxed U.S. style and big celebrity following – has appealed against the tough restrictions.
Scantily dressed staff at the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store launch on Savile Row in 2007
Local businesses have hit out at the
decision to let the chain open a large store on this infamous street,
which until now has never housed a high street brand.
Mark Henderson, chairman of Gieves
& Hawkes and the Savile Row Bespoke Association told the Evening
Standard newspaper: 'Slapping an American kids' shop in the middle of
Savile Row would be a knife in the gut for us.
'This street is unique. There are 100 tailors in our workshops. Abercrombie are brilliant at what they do, but $30 shirts are not Savile Row.
'We have celebrity clients but they
get dropped off by limo and come to shop in privacy. It's not about
lining everybody up to stare open-mouthed at them in a red carpet.
'Our clientele is more Tatler and Country Life than Hello! magazine.'
The future of the store is to be decided at a public planning enquiry.
Abercrombie & Fitch declined to comment.