Hot Designers Put The Gap Back in Vogue
The designers brought on by Gap Inc. to create the retailer’s Design Editions line have gotten some welcomed attention from no other than the fashion icon Vogue.
The magazine has put Gap’s Designer Edition clothes on its front cover and it is leading a chorus of cheers from many fashion industry watchers. While it’s early, there is a feeling that Gap’s new approach with designers Doo.Ri Chung, Rodarte (sisters Kate and Laura Mulleav) and Thakoon Panichgul might be its best, last shot at getting its business turned around.
For their part, the designers seem to be relaxed, despite the obvious need for Design Editions to succeed.
“There’s such a classic coolness that comes with Gap. I think that, for me, to be involved in that kind of aesthetic, on that kind of scale, is really cool,” Thakoon Panichgul said in a press release earlier this month.
“The challenge of working with the classic Gap white shirt was really interesting from a designer’s point of view. I see Gap as sort of a blank canvas – it’s the go-to place if you don’t have something to wear,” said Doo.Ri Chung.
Patricia Pao, founder of Pao Principle, is among those who believe the new line of clothes with a slightly dressier presentation than the standard Gap look may be what the chain needs. She told The Wall Street Journal, “Bringing on new designers will buy the Gap some time so they can get their house back in order.”
Roseanne Morrison, a fashion director at Doneger Group, believes that many Gap customers moved on when the chain failed to meet their needs and their return is doubtful. She told The Journal, “They’ve totally lost that middle-ground customer – she doesn’t shop there anymore.”
“On the ads, Gap’s cool, it’s hip. When you go in…it’s a disappointment,” she said.
Still, the Gap is hoping the de facto approval of Vogue and others will justify consumers taking another look. Now, it can be argued, what the chain promises in its ads is delivered in the store.
“Directionally, it makes sense,” Wachovia analyst John D. Morris told The Journal. “The Gap is going after the 20- to 30-year-old customer. They’re now fine-tuning that.”
Discussion Question: Are the new Designer Edition lines what Gap needs to get its business turned around?
- Gap Partners with Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue to Introduce Gap Design Editions – Gap Inc.
- Gap Tests New Designs to Help Pull Out of Dive – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)