New Albany-based Abercrombie & Fitch opens its new store design and concept to the public today.
In the ever-changing world of retail, Abercrombie & Fitch has withstood the test of time, but not without its share of course corrections and (occasionally controversial) reinventions.
The brand sits at the cusp of another new version of itself, a version that was unveiled to a handful of interested guests on Thursday, Feb. 17, at the Polaris Fashion Place. Gone are the shirtless male models standing outside the store, greeting you as you entered the cologne-filled, dimly-lit store that I remember (somewhat fondly, if I may say so) from my middle school days.
I had a chance to tour the new A&F store before it opened to the public. The invitation-only preview was attended by several Abercrombie executives, social media influencers and local news affiliates. Sparkling wine was served, along with bite-sized cupcakes. A DJ was playing music in the middle of the new open-concept floor plan.
The new store design and concept is a welcome change from the A&F predecessor. The lighting is brighter, the music is softer, the scent isn’t overpowering and the fitting rooms are an experience all their own. You have the option to adjust the lighting, music and charge your cellphone while trying on clothes. You can also share a private two-room ‘suite’ with a friend to enjoy some privacy from other shoppers. The suite offers two side-by-side fitting rooms with an outer door so you can come out and show each other outfits that you’re trying on without anybody else seeing.
Abercrombie & Fitch brand president, Stacia Andersen told me that the team was going for a “more personalized and refreshing in-store experience.” She also mentioned that the “epic fitting rooms” are her favorite part of the new store design.
The store aesthetic is very modern, with plenty of metal finishes now complementing the classic hardwood floors that have long been an A&F staple. Their updated logo is printed in the wallpaper and on the ceiling, subtly enough so that at first glance you would think it was just a fun pattern.
There are noticeably more mannequins throughout the store that provide tons of outfit ideas if you need some inspiration. The associates were dressed head to toe in the brand’s clothing and were very well-versed on the product. I decided to test out the fancy fitting rooms for myself and found that the employees were genuinely interested in my opinion of the clothing, and gave me some ideas on how to style the pieces that I never would have thought of myself—to the point where I ended up buying a couple of things. They’re good.
There is so much more variety in the clothes offered and they have become much more telling of the current fashion trends. There’s a lot of distressed denim, olive green and athleisure. However, you’ll still find some classic Abercrombie staples like button downs, hoodies and that famous moose logo.
Check out the first-of-its-kind store for yourself at Polaris Fashion Place.