Good question. In the mid-90’s, I — like many teenage boys trying to sucker girls into sleeping with them — spent a great time wandering down the mincing path of the “sensitive male friend”. As one might expect, this led to many girl-unfortunate-space-friends informing me that it would be like sleeping with their little brother. As an only child, I never quite understood the concern, but I digress. During these times, I spent a lot of time in malls with friends, assuring them outside of the Gap dressing room that those jeans didn’t make them look fat, or that a particular grungy t-shirt emphasized their breasts subtly yet profoundly. The Gap was the place for 90’s hipster fashion.
Yet if I get suckered into accompanying a friend now when clothes shopping, we always pass the Gap by without a word. Other retailers have stolen the spotlight. Slate examines The Gap and argues a large part of it is that The Gap has never gotten over the 90’s fashion aesthetic that once made their brand so powerful. In addition, they are over-priced for what they sell and even simple purchases like a pair of jeans require an advanced PhD in order to work out the overly-complicated sizing descriptions. Well worth a read as a case-study on how a powerful brand can let itself stagnate by not paying attention to what its customers want.
Never Mind the Gap [Slate]