Abercrombie in Shanghai: What kind of different 'format' are Asian Clothing Stores in?

From the Rude York Times:

What different format (floorplan?) would a clothing store need in Asia to prosper? Hard to believe a store, square or rectangle, would not work anywhere in the universe outside of a black hole. I dont get how a storefront would have to be so different. Are the floorplans all weird and crazy in Beijing for the customers there, who demand bizarre architecture for their hoody & sweatpants shopping experience? I don’t get it.

And from what I’ve seen, Japanese designed clothes like Comme Des Garcons is not any different than western brand labels, although perhaps smaller for the Asian market (but so are Italian/EU marketed clothes, much slimmer than the US marketed ones). And even the Japanese sizes like “4” are easily relabeled or translated as ‘medium’ or whatnot. (the EU uses metric sizing which is different than US inches sizing).

The the EU market is both on a different sizing guide, and different body shape, than the US one, yet why are they treating Asian markets as so different?


Feng Shui still plays an important role in building design & construction in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other places where Chinese influence is significant. A retailer wanting to open in such a place would do well to make the right phone calls before building…

I would be happy if their shops had some decent lighting and didn’t stink to high heaven of the “signature” fragrance.

Maybe the Japanese object to being unable to see the merchandise and olfactory assault by chemical-weapons-grade cheap perfume?

Just a thought.

Sizing is a major issue, you can’t just relabel, you need all new production for proper fit.

I don’t shop at A&F but from the one time I was in a store they are laid out carefully to channel traffic flow and “the experience”, more than any other clothing retailer I’ve seen. It may not work in other cultures as shoppers may have different expectations. It’s not necessarily the dimensions of the store, but the layout.

I’m not sure I’ve ever even been in an A&F store, but I used to live in Japan and can say that shopping malls are generally tall, narrow buildings and not low, sprawling buildings like in the US. So that right there could impact the design of the store.

Japanese clothing is cut differently than Western clothes to better match the body proportions of the average Japanese person. I lost a lot of weight while living in Japan and was down to a US size 6 or 8, but I was never able to buy pants or skirts there because my hips (37" or 38" at the time) were quite full by Japanese standards. If I could find anything big enough, which wasn’t a given, it would be HUGE in the waist.

The sleeves and legs in Japanese garments also tend to be cut shorter than for American clothes. Keep in mind that the Japanese aren’t just slimmer on average than Americans, they’re 2-3" shorter.

There is no such thing as a Japanese size 4, they use a metric system similar to Europe for most clothes and S/M/L/XL for things like t-shirts. However, a Japanese XL t-shirt is about the same size as an American M. A&F’s smallest standard adult size is presumably much larger than the smallest standard Japanese adult size. So just relabeling clothing produced for the American market would still be excluding a good chunk of the Japanese population.

I spent a week in China in April prior to moving there next month (got my visa today, in fact). Part of that week involved surveying American sizes. Nothing. I spent all day yesterday tripling the size of my wardrobe. I hope it’s enough to last three years.

As for “format,” though, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Whether anything was feng shui or not totally bypassed my non-superstitious brain.