Hello how are you?: Three of the A&F in-store models Tom Mitchelson worked undercover at the West End store By TOM MITCHELSON Two young, shirtless men in low-slung jeans greet you at the door. Disco music pounds out, the air is full of a sickly sweet scent and it is so dark, customers get lost and panic. This is shopping Abercrombie & Fitch style. Savile Row will never be the same. I've been working undercover there after I took a job as an in-store model at the multi-billion dollar U.S. clothing company's new London store - their first venture into Europe. My aim was to report from the inside. It happened by chance. You don't see many Canadian woman in turquoise wellies on public transport in London, so I had already noticed the store's talent scout when she noticed me, at a London Tube station. I was curious. So was she. You've got just the right look to come and work for Abercrombie & Fitch" she told me. I was taken aback, flattered, but had no idea what she meant. "Fantastic" I replied. Abercrombie & Fitch? The name rang a bell. Shortbread? Why would a biscuit firm want to employ me? She explained that Abercrombie & Fitch was a clothing store and that they were hiring "models" to "just hang out" around the shop, wearing the company's clothing. The penny dropped. I'd seen those risque; posters of a muscular man with a builder's bottom adorning London buses. I knew this homoerotic campaign has caused a stir. This, I realised, was the American chain whose use of blatant sex to market their U.S. preppy style has attracted critics as well as custom. They promise a store full of "gorgeous kids". And this woman was asking me to be one of them. Was this her job, then - hanging around Tube stations offering jobs to anyone she fancied the look of? I wondered if I looked particularly unemployed. She asked what I did. I told her I was a freelance writer but had some time to spare. She gave me a number and told me to call. The interview room at the Abercrombie & Fitch headquarters was packed. The woman interrogator asked which three words I'd use to describe myself. I repeated what the girl before me had said "I'm approachable and friendly". My interviewer smiled and wrote this down. She informed us that the company had a "tagline" which we would have to use when greeting customers. She explained, very seriously, that it was, "Hello, how are you?" "How did you come up with that?" I asked. She said a company of marketing consultants had worked intensively at developing it. They wanted to audition me to see if I could deliver the line - this was make or break. "Hello, how are you?!" I said clearly. "Very good" she reassured me. I had cleared my first hurdle and said four words in the right order, a test that floored some of my fellow-would-be-models - honestly. The interviewer then asked the assembled clutch of giggly, naive, underfed boys and girls - the bony and the beautiful - what they knew about Abercrombie & Fitch. Nobody mentioned the story that A&F supposedly sold Ernest Hemmingway the gun he used to shoot himself. And no one mentioned the homoerotic nature of the ad campaign or the $40million outofcourt settlement in a racial and ethnic discrimination case bought by 10,000 litigants in the U.S. One girl said she thought the store was a bit like GAP. That was the end of her. A week later the phone rang. I'd got the job. Would I come to an orientation day? This turned out to be a crash-course in the way to hang about. We should be friendly, outgoing and portray a sexy image, they said.