The Chap staged a peaceful protest against Abercrombie & Fitch at midday on Monday 29th September 2014.
Some fifty extremely well-dressed Chaps and Chapettes descended on Savile Row to express their distaste at the opening of a children’s ready-to-wear (or ready-to-throw-in-the-dustbin, judging by the manufacturing quality) clothing outlet, on a street which has remained the home of bespoke tailors for more than two centuries.
Westminster Council, in The Chap’s eyes, is just as guilty as Abercrombie & Fitch, for colluding with the big American retailer to allow them to convert a listed Georgian building into a gaudily decorated and vulgarly perfumed outlet for poorly made children’s clothes.
The protesters entered Abercrombie & Fitch, in a civilised manner, and politely requested to speak to the head cutter and to view the shop’s collection of tweed and worsted swatches. The staff, though cordial, were unable to assist us on any of these extremely basic requests such as one would expect to be fulfilled by a business establishing itself on Savile Row.
After a few minutes, the protesters were asked, not quite so politely, to leave the building, which we did. Our first concern was how to remove the smell of cheap cologne, which being in the shop for a few minutes had infected all our clothing. A few bowlfuls of Navy Shag soon put paid to the smell of teenager upon our lapels, and we then proceeded to the front entrance of Abercrombie & Fitch’s ‘flagship’ store on Burlington Gardens, where we chanted “Give Three-piece a Chance”.
Our inspection of the enemy’s premises was refreshing, in that it revealed that shoddy workmanship in Philippines-based sweatshops where unions are banned does not produce clothing made to last. The threat suggested by Abercrombie & Fitch opening up on Savile Row was that other big chains would follow suit and push the tailors out. Quite apart from the fact that we saw very few customers in the store, it was clear that it was doomed to a very short tenure and an ignominious closure in the next couple of years. The millions that A&F spent on acquiring and renovating number 3 Savile Row will undoubtedly contribute to their demise as a company in the near future.