Travellers to US malls will be fully familiar with American Eagle as the “Man on the Streets” call to casual clothing. Affordable and accessible in contrast to some of its more narcissistic neighbours it has built up a loyal following with its classic collection of denim, hoodies, sweats and T’s.
A mass migration has bought the likes of J Crew, Banana Republic and Jack Spade as well as the more established Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap to the UK, all jostling for position in a market with no room for complacency, no time to tepidly test the fast-flowing waters.
American Eagle fronts with its destination denim department accounting for a sizeable share of its overall sales, creating a huge visual statement of intent with rows of mannequins and bays of folded merchandise. Distinctive destination boards, direct from departure lounges across the globe are a nice touch communicating popular cuts and washes, best sellers and available sizes.
Elsewhere mass merchandising is the overwhelming proposition with classic stateside tables teaming with winter woollies, branded sweatshirts in colour spectrums and coordinated categories in careful combination. Powerful wall bays fill to the ceilings with seasonal graphics, mannequin silhouettes and best seller staples in plain and checks.
The stakes are high and the prices low, as another newcomer nestles-down to weather out the winter, appealing to the price conscious, soft fashion followers that frequent the shopping malls of Southern England.
Whether American Eagle has found its natural habitat, or becomes just another vagrant visitor to our shores blown off course by the winds of international optimism remains to be seen, but its addition to the retail regulars adds another touch of international interest to the vibrant UK clothing market.
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