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Dapper Protesters Want Abercrombie and Fitch Off Savile Row

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Abercrombie and Fitch (ANF) is no stranger to protests. They’re kind of hard to avoid when you get sued for forcing a disabled girl to work in the stock room.

More recently, the company had two almost entirely Twitter based public relations fiascoes. First their attempt to pay Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino not to wear their clothes (because he’s too low class) crumbled under the weight of its own ridiculousness. Then a probable Google Translate (GOOG) mix-up on a Chinese knock-off site convinced way too many people that the company was selling a racist pair of pants.

Yesterday, a new wave of protests began. This time a group of self-described “chaps and chapettes” (named for the British dandy magazine Chap) converged on Savile Row in London to protest a new Abercrombie and Fitch at address No. 3.

The protesters, male and female, dressed up in three-piece suits in honor of the street’s history of fine tailoring. Many held signs reading: “Give three-piece a chance.”

The protest was the brainchild of Chap magazine whose report on the proceedings, “The Siege of Savile Row” states that the chaps and chapettes were protesting “peacefully -- but firmly -- against” Abercrombie. It added that, following the protest, participants met for a quick mid-morning snifter at the French House.

In an article published yesterday in the Guardian, Chap editor Gustav Temple lays out the case against A&F. He explains, “The Row is the heartland of English bespoke tailoring.” Adding, “It was here that tailors made the uniform worn by Horatio Nelson when he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar; it was here that that Edward VII invented the dinner jacket.”

Basically, Savile is no place for Abercrombie.

In his mind, the new Savile store might just kill the Row entirely. One chain store might well lead to more chain stores, and soon enough the street will look any other street in the world.

For Temple, the only similarity between the chain and the Row is the mark-up on clothes. That, and the fact that Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries wears Savile suits.

It’s nice to see locals standing up for a venerable institution that is threatened by global conglomerates. Of course, no part of this is nice for Abercrombie. Try as they might, the store -- once known only as the place that fills the mall with the smell of bad cologne -- can’t seem to catch a break.
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