Dapper Dudes

Back in September last year, Abercrombie and Fitch caused a scandal before its flagship store had even opened in Singapore.

Photo courtesy of The Straits Times

This ginormous billboard of a male beefcake with his jeans hung dangerously low had offended some locals, who sought to have the authorities remove the billboard.

I found the incident, which has been labelled a ‘controversy’ extremely amusing. That said, I’m glad the people who thought it inappropriate stood their ground and made their feelings about this questionable advert known.

Am I a prude? Oh hell no. But I believe that a) some things, like your privates, should be kept just that way: P-R-I-V-A-T-E, b) if your jeans go that low, honey, they are the WRONG SIZE and c) if you sell good clothes, you shouldn’t have to depend on the sexuality of your models to make a sale.

The only shock I got from the billboard was when I was driving from a distance towards Knightsbridge (where A&F would land), I thought I was staring at the body of a naked woman. =/ CAN YOU BLAME ME?! HIS PECS ARE SO HUGE! And I apologise, but I find beefcakes rather off-putting. How… How can I date a man who’s chest is more ample than mine?

Anyway. All  that’s fine. Well and good. A&F docked here and tons of people went to tickle/touch/grope/pinch/smack the seemingly never-ending line of yummy, yummy models that surrounded the store. Some people asked for kisses, some for hugs, and some to be carried. But wait a minute… Does A&F sell … clothes? I forget.

Hey. I love looking at boys with features so chiseled I can open tin cans with. But allowing people to touch them just because you paid them to look good… Isn’t that kinda wrong? Will you allow your children to be groped by strangers and photographed? Will you allow your significant other to carry random strangers for sport? Will you stand topless and allow people to gawk at you in one of Singapore’s busiest streets? (Again… A&F sells what?)

Yes, yes. I know it’s a professional hazard and the models probably signed up for all these. Some people do get a kick out of this kinda attention. I cannot assume. But a company that propagates that? Can’t say I’m all hip-hip-hurray for Abercromie and Flesh.

Which is why when I heard A&F is looking to stomp its way into Savile Row, I had to do my little bit of protesting from the other side of the world. When you think Savile Row, you think history, lineage, and bespoke tailoring. For over 200 years, it held the fort for exquisite English tailoring. Even if you have never heard of it, and you’re more of a Topshop kinda kid… think of it as A&F taking over Ann Siang Hill, or your older brother who has just returned home from army camp and lying on your bed. There is a time and place and space for certain things and brands, companies and people.

A&F has no business being in Savile Row. That’s it.

The good people at The Chap believe so strongly about that, that on St. George’s Day, they staged the most sartorial protest I’d ever seen.

Man with a ‘stache. You have my heart.

From The Chap:

Allowing Abercrombie & Fitch to open a store there will irreversibly alter the character of the Row and destroy its old-world charm. We believe that there are already enough streets in London and the whole country full of global chain stores selling casual wear at inflated prices, so why should Savile Row go the same way as Oxford Street, Regent Street et al?

Many foreign visitors come to London to see where Beau Brummell had his waistcoats made, which we are pretty certain was not Abercrombie & Fitch. There is also the issue of the store’s habit of pumping cheap cologne out of its doors to entice gullible tourists in: this will affect not only the character of the Row but also its smell.

Go on. Give Three-Piece a Chance. Tweed, not Greed.

Even if you like your high street brands – do you bit to keep those brands on those trendy streets, and leave the rest of our charming, quaint streets of character alone.

Sign their petition here.

Read The Chap’s Manifesto here.

All protest pictures courtesy of Styleite.

More protest pictures by Stephanie Wolff here.

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2 thoughts on “Dapper Dudes

  1. This was a really well written post! It’s funny, when I was in college (yikes over 25 years ago) Abercrombie & Fitch was a far different store than it is today. You could find very interesting and all things British from amazing khaki skirts and proper white blouses to leather globes and hammocks. Beautifully carved wooden walking sticks for the gentlemen and parasols for the ladies too. Back then, Calvin Klein had the controversial advertising (Brooke Shields). But it was nothing like the advert you featured.

  2. Thank you for your kind words! My gosh… that sounds incredible! Parasols, leather globes and hammocks – now that’s a shop with character! Where have all the goodies gone? =(

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