miss: the gap

For those of you who missed the brouhaha about the new/old/new Gap logo, in a nutshell it went like this:

  1. Gap decides to quietly change their logo
  2. They decide on a strange, really stale logo
  3. They introduce strange, really stale logo on website (soft launch?)
  4. Graphic design & fashion snobs worldwide denounce new logo
  5. Gap pulls a omg… wtf… j/k moment and changes it back

While the logo was atrocious and something that someone will obviously get fired for, I wondered what was up with the Gap. I hadn’t been there for a while and I did owe it a certain loyalty seeing as this girl grew up in Gap kids from age 8 to 14. So I paid the Gap @ Connecticut Ave a visit today.

Yikes. The logo is the least of it.

You know how diamond people talk about the ‘4 Cs’? For me, clothes are all about the three Fs: feel (fabric quality), fit (sizing and cut) and fashion (as Heidi would say: are they ‘in’ or ‘out’). Sad to say, Gap really fell down on all three.

FEEL. Most of the fabrics I inspected at Gap would have felt right at home at Forever 21. Except that Gap charges twice as much. A lot of poly blend-type fabrics, only a handful of quality fabrics, namely two leather coats (both on sale). The construction on most items left a lot to be desired.

FIT. Key word here is ‘shapeless.’ Lots and  lots of shapeless blouses and dresses. Most of which were rendered in poor fabrics with little detail. The denim fit was inconsistent.I fit into a 0, 2, 4 or 6 depending on the style. The much editorialized ‘new’ black pants (I’m going to attribute that to aggressive marketing efforts on their part) were totally underwhelming.

FASHION. Ouch. The different pieces in the store varied so wildly that the whole collection seemed really hodge-podge. Skinny jeans with stirrups and a bad denim rinse? How do those fit with the Gap Keds (the only good thing in the store)? Everything was either totally off the mark or trying in vain to interpret trends that clearly didn’t fit with the Gap brand.

It leads me to wonder, Gap, who is your target market? Have you evaluated your competition? Walking into a Gap felt like nothing had changed since the late 90s. Including the styles. What is your niche? I get basics from American Apparel, trendy stuff from Zara, and quality but still affordable pieces from Madewell and J. Crew. So where does that leave Gap? To paraphrase Heidi once again: out.

While I hate to count out any retailer who has made great clothes at a reasonable price in the past, I won’t be going back anytime soon.

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