In February, when RUEHL No. 925 opens its
doors, the black paper will come down, and antique-sectioned
windows and a brick apartment storefront will be revealed.
Complete with a sidewalk, wrought-iron fence, and planter boxes
under the windows, RUEHL No. 925 is the image of a historic
New York City, Greenwich Village apartment.
The fact that Hawai‘i has been chosen for the placement
of a RUEHL is huge,” Store Manager Misty Myers said. “Walking
into RUEHL is such a wonderfully intriguing experience. RUEHL
has a distinct style and there’s nothing like it in the
mall. I can’t wait to share it with the island.”
RUEHL No. 925, pronounced “Rule Number Nine Twenty-five” or
just RUEHL for short, is the fourth concept created by lifestyle-branding
guru Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch. The store’s
dimly-lit interior is cozy; scattered overstuffed furniture,
soothing jazz music, and a central art gallery add to the ambiance.
The store focuses on casual apparel for men and women, but also
has small leather goods such as wallets, handbags, and belts,
as well as CDs, magazines, and authentic antique books.
Parent company Abercrombie and Fitch describes RUEHL as “casual
style meets Greenwich Village attitude.” According to the
company’s Web site, RUEHL offers something unique: it’s
an introduction to the New York dream, a chance to feel and dress
like a young professional who’s found success in one of
the world’s great cities.
In fact, the entire concept of the brand RUEHL can be traced
back to the story of a fictional German family, written by Jeffries.
According to Abercrombie.com, the Ruehls’ story goes like
this: The Ruehls immigrate to the United States in the late 1800s,
move into an apartment in Greenwich Village, and open a leather
goods business. The business is operated by the family for years,
and the modern store RUEHL is the product of the Ruehls’ grandson,
who opened an apparel and leather goods store 100 years later.
Although this story isn’t posted in the store, nor is it
spelled out to the customer, the store’s atmosphere and
apparel have been created in line with it, right down to the
jean styles, which are named after popular Greenwich Village
The Ala Moana store will be the ninth RUEHL to open nationwide,
said Myers. Over the next few years the brand is expected to
mature into a 100-store operation, said Myers.
RUEHL’s grand opening, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 11,
will be a catered gala featuring live jazz music, according to
Abercrombie and Fitch District Manager, Joe Bolton. Before the
store opens, the 10,000-square-foot space must be completed,
furnished, and merchandised. Myers and the other four store managers
will spend the next two months recruiting 500 part-time associates
and 20 full-time managers.
Bolton said the Hawai‘i district of Abercrombie and Fitch
will employ almost 3,000 island residents in five stores: RUEHL,
Abercrombie & Fitch Women, Abercrombie & Fitch Men, Hollister
Ala Moana, and Hollister Pearl Ridge.
Margaret Sellers, 21, a fashion design student at the University
of Hawai‘i, has been anticipating the opening of RUEHL
for months. “The clothes are amazing. I could spend all
day in the store,” Sellers said. “RUEHL is a store
that defies typical fashion rules. Someday I’d love to
work for their design department,” she added.
Sellers compares RUEHL’s merchandise to the clothes at
Banana Republic; the stores’ apparel is priced similarly,
but she thinks RUEHL has an edgier, more fashion-forward approach.
RUEHL is also different from other brands in the Abercrombie
and Fitch family, Sellers added, because it will carry the color
Sellers’ favorite RUEHL outfit happens to be the ladies’ key
look this holiday season: fitted jeans paired with a graphic
tee shirt and boy tank, layered under a dark-gray, cable-knit,
cashmere sweater. According to Sellers, the men’s key looks
include slimmer fitted dark jeans, button-up collared shirts,
polos, and cashmere sweaters.
In order to pull off the RUEHL look as it is meant to be pulled
off, you have to layer,” Sellers said. “Like, for
girls, maybe a tank top or two under a tee shirt, layered under
a sweater. It has to be styled so that each layer peeks out from
under the previous layer.”
RUEHL is also trying to break into the specialty leather goods
market with handbags and accessories handmade in the same Italian
factories used by Louis Vuitton and priced according to Coach’s
structure, Myers said. Currently New York is home to the only
RUEHL accessories-only store, but Myers thinks that Ala Moana’s
RUEHL will be successful enough to consider opening O‘ahu’s
very own acces