In yet another symbol of its drive to get its fashion sense back, Gap
Gap has enlisted design labels Doo.Ri, Rodarte, and Thakoon to design one classic white blouse apiece for its stores. These will be exclusives, available only at Gap. To further up the ante, models Stella Tennant, Liya Kebede, and Carmen Kass will show off the three designer blouses on a fold-out cover of Vogue magazine.
Gap's intentions are in the right place, but I'm not sure it's time to get too excited. You can't blame Gap for trying, given the flair companies such as Target
Then again, let's contemplate Target and H&M. They deal in fast fashion or discounting or some combination of the two, which helps drive impressive apparel sales. I'd say Gap's fashion sense has been anything but fast here lately. Gap may be offering more bargains these days, but hey, it's been doing a lot of discounting to move its wares, which of course is not the same as peddling inexpensive fast fashion that flies off the shelves. And Gap's new designer blouses are going to be expensive (by Gap standards, anyway). The price tags on these white shirts will be between $68 and $88.
The whole "we own the classic white shirt" idea isn't a new sentiment coming from Gap, either. Last year at this time, I was less than inspired by statements I saw in a Gap conference call, stating that "key big ideas" at Banana Republic would consist of classic white shirts and chinos. I wondered how Gap could reinvigorate excitement and differential in the marketplace when it basically seemed bent on providing standard fare (T-shirts, hoodies, denim) young people can get at any number of hotter retailers. Meanwhile, I'd say the name Gap Design Editions is just about as bland as white shirts. I'm just sayin'. (Don't miss the 27-second stock pitch on Gap at the end of this article -- it touches on Gap's fashion faux pas, and it's anything but bland.)
And speaking of deja vu all over again, I seem to recall that in October 2005, Gap hired Charlotte Neuville, who had previously worked for New York & Co.
Perhaps this new campaign will be a big success. Design is important, of course, but Gap can't seem to get it right these days. At any rate, we already knew Gap's turnaround won't be quick; I have a hunch this isn't quite the beginning of the much hoped-for turnaround, either.
Here's that aforementioned stock pitch:
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