European brands used to be the trendiest thing in the United States, but now we are seeing dozens and dozens of American brands entering the European market. It’s been a flip-flop.
The first brand I am mentioning is Abercrombie & Fitch. This store definitely made a mark on the Champs-Elysees when it opened its 31,000 square foot store in May 2011. Typical to the brand, Abercrombie & Fitch hired 100 male shirtless models to line the Champs-Elysees for a publicity event. During the event, Abercrombie was ordered to take a step back due to the “regulations against partial nudity on the Champs-Elysees.” I chuckled when I read that. The video gives you an idea for those of us that were not there. You see some people walking right by, not giving a second glance which seems hard to do and then others running up to take pictures with the male models. This event is typical for the company. They are basically used as sex symbols. Even though I’m shy, I would definitely muster up the courage to go get a picture with those models. They’re some good eye candy.
While the older Parisian crowd did not handle this opening well, the younger French generation is welcoming the American brands. They are becoming familiar with American brands thanks to the internet. The younger french generation watches American shows and wants to dress like the American children. It is helpful they are accepting and want to help promote the brands. When brands attempted to enter the European market over 10 years ago (Gap and Talbots), it backfired due to the pricey real-estate. Now, the big names in fashion need new groups to promote growth. Why Europe and not Asia you ask? Well, when brands enter the Asian market, the brands have to be modified (things like sizes, styles and store layouts) according to Brandchannel.com. If they enter the European market, the entire step can be skipped (woo hoo!) and is much more cost effective.
For the past two years, those shirtless models seem to be doing the trick and keep those credit cards swiping daily. In my opinion, the store is something a tourist should definitely see. I was an Abercrombie addict back in the day so walking into that store brought back to memories.