The Industry: The Problem with Gap

1 Aug

I don’t think that we are alone with our ongoing, love-hate relationship with Gap. For years, Gap has been one of the go-to places for the necessary stability that we all need in our closets: tanks, t-shirts, white jeans (although no one wears the white jean better than Tonne Goodman, let’s just concede that now), etc. But ever since the unfortunate foray into all things khaki and those dreadful swing dancing ads of the 90’s, Gap has lost its way. Things seemed to be looking up for a bit with the Audrey Hepburn campaign, where Gap used a clip of her amazing dance sequence from the film Funny Face, in which she wears a chic, sort of Beatnik, uniform of a skinny bracelet- length sleeved black shirt and a slim cropped pant, exactly the kind of updated classic look that could be easily replicated at the Gap. Many girls would wear this look, as who wouldn’t want to look like Audrey?

But as high street, fast fashion retailers like Topshop and H&M made their way to America, Gap slowly began to seem out of step at best, irrelevant at worst. People were more in tune with what was happening on the runways and cared less about closet staples like cardigans and white button-downs. Another bright spot appeared on the horizon as Gap hired Partrick Robinson to take over as Creative Director, and he did seem to bring a more editorial edge to Gap, with collaborations with designers like Pierre Hardy and the continuation of the limited edition designer white-shirt series (which we actually rather liked). But his new direction was never able to catch fire (or profits) and he was recently fired.

Word comes today that Gap is trying a different approach, adopting a denim-focused campaign and reaching out to a target of the 28 year-old consumer. They have released a video clip (see above) of a behind-the-scenes look at Gap HQ, hoping that a peek into the “creative process” will be compelling enough to make us buy (although, we are thrilled to see that there appears to be some diversity among the top level design staff). So what do you think is the problem with Gap? Should they drastically reduce the number of stores, concentrate on producing modern classic pieces that people who care about fashion actually want to wear? Gap is an American icon and we don’t want to see them go, but they really need to figure this out before we stop caring.




2 Responses to “The Industry: The Problem with Gap”

  1. Liz August 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    I just looked at the fall lookbook, and I honestly don’t see a thing to buy. The outfits just don’t make sense, in particular this one:,3521065,10&clink=3521065

    Who would wear that? To where? An audition for a musical about farming? It seems they’re trying to go “chic” by layering lots of neutrals. This is not how you do it, Gap.

    • blackmarketmag August 2, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

      Hmmm. I would wear the pieces separately, but definitely not styled like that as a complete look. This is what I think is one of their problems- there is nothing editorial or forward-thinking about that look. J. Crew is doing what the Gap should be doing and the fashion world is deeply in love with Jenna Lyons and what she’s doing for J. Crew.

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