05 October 2007

Abercrombie to launch Gilly Hicks Sydney but it won't be in Sydney.

American clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) is set to launch what is being described as an “Australian-themed“ lingerie concept store, but not in Sydney.

The eponymously named Gilly Hicks Sydney, or Concept 5 as it is known internally, is set to open its first store on January 2008 in Natick, Massachusetts along with other stores in Connecticut and New York. A quick scan through CraigsList this week and we found they are also advertising for staff in the help wanted section locations at both Smith Haven Mall Long Island and Westfarms Mall New Haven.

A&F specialises in what it calls “casual luxury" apparel for college students ages 18 through 22. The company already operates four brands throughout the US: Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister Co. and RUEHL No.925.

What the allusions of the new brand to Sydney are, we can only guess. Perhaps it's to do with sun, surf and a great outdoors lifestyle or perhaps even a long lost Sydney relative, though anyone with the name will be laying claim to this title.

What is known is that A&F has secured trademarks for the Gilly Hicks name and a set of beach-oriented symbols in the United States and the UK (it was registered in June) in recent months, documents shows. Insiders report that Gilly Hicks will include underwear, loungewear and a personal-care division.

According to the August Trademarks Journal, the UK trademarking was in four classes including footwear, headgear, intimate apparel and intimate apparel accessories, athletic wear and athletic wear accessories, swimwear and swim wear accessories, fashion accessories, bags, fragrances and jewellery

A&F has already filed for trademark protection for both the "Gilly Hicks" and "Gilly Hicks Sydney" names, along with symbols including conch shells, nautilus, scallops and sand dollars. The shell logo is believed to be part of the main brand identity.

The company has filed similar applications in Arizona and Hong Kong, according to public documents. DIFFUSION understands A&F will open up to 100 stores but there is no word on how the stores actually relate to Australia or whether they will borrow from similar “Australian” themed stores here in Australia such as Beach, RMWilliams and Rodd and Gunn. Maybe it's more Outback Steakhouse than Bondi Icebergs. In the end Australians may still be holding their collective breaths for word of any of A&F branded store in this country. Or for that matter, A&F at all.