For some, Abercrombie and Fitch is a throwback to the days of polos and branded hoodies.
But the new concept store on campus is bringing the brand to campus with a modern twist while sticking to its roots.
Gateway’s new Abercrombie and Fitch store opened Sunday and revealed its revamped, fashion-forward pieces targeted toward the student demographic.
“We really want it to feel like a new version of Abercrombie and Fitch, but we want to nod to the past,” Stacia Andersen, brand president of A&F said. “We’re a 125-year-old company so we don’t want to completely turn upside down the original feel of the store.”
Dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, joggers, lightweight sweaters and denim fill the space, but a few touches from the past remain like the classic A&F-branded hoodies and sweatpants.
The store measures around 3,000 square feet, about half the size of a typical store, with a smaller inventory of merchandise — an intentional move by the brand.
“We wanted to merchandise it much more like a boutique with the most ‘fashion’ product that we have,” Andersen said. “We’re at Ohio State so we feel like with the frequency and the traffic that it’s really a ‘buy now, wear now’ type purchase.”
Andersen said red is the main theme of the products in the store — whether it be a denim skirt or a hoodie from the Ohio State merchandise rack — making it even more marketable to students.
The bright, open concept is a step away from the typically dimly lit stores, allowing the customers to see everything in the store without having to hunt for specific pieces. Andersen said they wanted people to have easy access to products they can wear the second they leave the store.
“Instead of searching for a matching top, we lay out outfits and options close together so you can see what looks good together,” Andersen said. “We’re showing you how to wear it.”
Adding to the “buy now, wear now” concept, the store is equipped with touch screens that allow customers to order sizes and styles that might not be available in store with minimal delivery time.
“On our interactive screens, if you order by 1 p.m., it’ll be in the store for you that day,” Clare Drummond, senior manager of public relations, said.
Alphabetized lockers line an entire wall and are used to make delivery and pickup even easier.
“The package would align with your last name,” Andersen said. “So as you buy things and have a pop-in, your bag will be there and ready for you to pick up.”
A mix of Abercrombie and Fitch branding and local imagery appears on the walls and large screens around the store.
“We want it to feel very personal to Columbus,” Drummond said. “The banners on the wall — we have images of The Columbus Dispatch on our largest screen and then it goes to a picture of The Shoe.
With the company’s newly remade denim line, Andersen said the brand is really focused on being inclusive and makes sure there are comfortable options for every body shape and size in both men’s and women’s fit.
The fashion brand is the sponsor for the Made in America music festival in Philadelphia Labor Day weekend, which includes a warm up gig this Friday with artist Clairo at A&R Music Bar – All Ohio State students have to do is sign up, Andersen said.
“It’s a modernization of the brand, but at the same time sticking to our roots,” Andersen said. “It’s subtle, it’s cool, it’s very traditional but still new. It’s a modernization of the brand and the store is a good representation of where we’re moving, in both product and technology.”