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Abercrombie & Fitch reinvents Gilly Hicks as gender-inclusive Gen Z brand

Gilly Hicks, the once Sydney-themed lingerie brand of US apparel giant Abercrombie & Fitch, has released a gender-inclusive range of lingerie as it sets out to reinvent the brand. 

The launch coincides with a new store prototype and a digital experience. 

“As part of its brand evolution, Gilly Hicks is now more gender-inclusive; the brand is introducing underwear, loungewear and activewear in patterns and colours that match everyone’s styles, regardless of gender identity,” the company said in a statement issued overnight. 

“We are thrilled to begin this new chapter for Gilly Hicks,” said Kristin Scott, global brand president at Abercrombie & Fitch Co.  

“From its global reintroduction in 2017, to last year’s addition of our highly successful Gilly Go activewear line, to providing matching underwear, loungewear and activewear that can be worn by all genders – the brand has continued to evolve to best meet our customers’ needs,” she said. 

Gilly Hicks was originally launched as a standalone brand by Abercrombie & Fitch in the late-2010s with standalone stores. But these were later closed, along with those of another newly launched brand at the time, casual denim clothing label Ruehl. The Gilly Hicks brand story was modelled on a surf-loving young woman from Bondi Beach, but this has evolved into the gender-neutral concept revealed overnight specifically targeting Gen Z customers, in part made possible by a new Future Stretch fabric, designed to accommodate a variety of body types.

“Today, the brand is celebrating a new purpose focused on helping Gen Z, which is the most stressed-out generation, find their happy place with a renewed focus on wellness and mindfulness,” said Scott. 

“The new product, digital experience, stores and our recent investments in talent further demonstrate our commitment to Gilly as a key part of our company’s long-term growth strategy.”

New store concept

Backing the brand’s evolution is a new retail store concept opened in Columbus, Ohio, marking a return to stand-alone stores.

“Opportunities for additional standalone stores will be evaluated in the future,” the company said. “Select Gilly Hicks side-by-side within Hollister locations have been refreshed to provide the same brand experience as the standalone store; these in-store experiences feature a welcoming atmosphere where product is merchandised by fabric and end-use rather than separated by gender to provide a comfortable, seamless shopping experience for all.”

A Gilly Hicks shopping bag photographed in Chicago in 2011 when the brand was expanding its original store network. Image: Robert Stockdill

The company said that Gilly Hicks “carveout locations” in Hollister stores are expected to be enhanced soon.

“These products align with the brand’s updated purpose of giving Gen Z their daily dose of happy.”

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