Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Does GAP Need To Be Cool Again?

Sponsoring a major fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum seems like a good start.  This Monday, A-list celebrities and models attended the annual Met Costume Gala in extravagant (not so crazy this year) ensembles, many of which were designed for GAP by big name designers Alexander Wang, Thakoon, Sophie Theallet and Rodarte.
Photos from and
Starting today (Happy Cinco De Mayo!), you can bid on the gowns which Jessica Alba, Vera Famiga, Kirsten Dunst and M.I.A wore and proceeds will benefit the MET Costume Institute.  There will also be a pop-up store on 54th and 5th Ave.  With the exception of Riley Keough's cream candle wax-like gown, the GAP gowns don't scream a comeback for the retailer but remind us that GAP is still struggling to regain retail dominance.

Big name designers, museum sponsorships--this is all starting to sound a bit TARGET-y.  The MET Gala is a prestigious event but does not have the mass reach the brand needs (unless they are only looking to target NYC Upper East Siders).  I know GAP has had guest designers before and continues to do so, but Target owns guest designer collections by its heavy marketing and hype of it.  What made GAP, GAP, is blue jeans and a white shirt.  Even that GAP identity is lost in their recent bold Helvetica font American Apparel-esque ads.
The GAP we love so dearly represented true American fashion--comfortable, classic and stylish clothes.  Whether its finding a designer that can create clothes we want (J. Crew!) or rethinking its marketing strategy, GAP needs to stay true to its roots (those great music-inspired ads with Missy Elliot) and maybe think more outside of the box.

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