Stephanie Hallett
February 07, 2017 12:11 pm
Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The brand hasn’t changed its iconic retail concept — dark lighting, heavy cologne in the air, sexy, stripped-down model portraits hung throughout — in more than 15 years, but Abercrombie & Fitch’s new store design is coming, and when you see it, you’ll hardly recognize the mall store of your youth.

Following a series of changes in executive leadership and a total brand overhaul last year, A&F will open the doors to its new store at Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, Ohio on February 17th. The new store concept continues A&F’s evolution away from a place where only “cool, good-looking people” are welcome to shop, and into a “warm, inclusive” brand, as Stacia Andersen, the company’s brand president, describes it.

Courtesy Abercrombie & Fitch

The new store concept does away with a glass front window and instead beckons consumers with a 36-foot concrete runway complete with 40 mannequins sporting the brand’s latest styles.

“It’s very long and intended to be very dramatic,” Andersen told Women’s Wear Daily. “The reason we put the platform down the middle of the store is that our customer loves to see different ways to mix and match.”

The store’s air will continue to be scented, but now the fragrance will be “lighter, cleaner, [and] gender neutral,” and portraits of chiseled models will be replaced with A&F logo wallpaper.

In another unconventional twist, the new A&F stores will feature dressing room “suites,” complete with two separate rooms and a communal area, where friends and families can show each other styles and get feedback without having to walk out into a public area. Plus, each suite has music and lighting controls and a phone-charging dock — so your experience will be truly ~customizable.~

Courtesy Abercrombie & Fitch

“It is important that our stores reflect what the Abercrombie & Fitch brand is today,” said Andersen in a press release. “So we’ve created a new space for our customers, that is warm, inviting, inclusive, and open.”

The Columbus store will be the first of seven new A&F concept shops to open in 2017; 20% of all opening weekend sales at that store will be donated to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Abercrombie says it has matured along with its customer base, and we’re here for the brand’s new chapter.

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