• SumoMe

On Monday, protesters flooded the street of London’s Savile Row to protest the planned expansion of an Abercrombie & Fitch next to the historic haberdasheries and storied tailors that have done business there since the 19th Century. The residents feel that the mega retailer will cheapen not only the street but also British retail in general.

The protest has gone on for quite some time. In fact, the BBC made a documentary (the introductory portion featured below) about the struggle to prevent the retailer from setting up shop.

The proposed site of the new store is Savile Row No. 3, which was the former home to Apple Records and the site of the final performance of The Beatles. Perhaps taking a page from the band’s book, the protesters sported signs with the pun “Give three-piece a chance.”

According to The Washington Post:

Gustav Temple, editor of The Chap magazine [which organized the rally], said the protest reflected unhappiness with the general trend of British retailing, with shirts and ties being overwhelmed by a new breed of shop promoting trendy T-shirts.

He said Savile Row is precious because “it is really the last insult, it’s the last street in the capital devoted to a single trade.”

“We didn’t want to go back in time,” he said. “But we think the dress code of the 1940s is timeless.”

A long time ago, Abercrombie & Fitch would have likely fit in with the shops on Savile Row, outfitting clients like Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, and Amelia Earhart. Now, however, the store tailors (poor word choice?) to the trendy teenage market of t-shirts and pre-ripped jeans–neither of which last a few washes, let alone have a lifetime guarantee like suits from Savile Row.

It’s good to see people standing up not only for timeless style, but for their communities and the dignity of commercial districts. There are plenty of malls and strips Abercrombie & Fitch can expand to, but only one street left entirely for timeless menswear.

Would you join the protest? Why? Get active in the comments below.