Mass Criticism Ensues

Posted on January 29, 2011

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Dear The Gap,

I can tell from your recent logo debacle that you are struggling to remake yourselves. I have a few suggestions. To start, your models are scary and your clothes are intimidating. You have chosen trends over good common sense. Not even your models look good in many of these clothes. Instead of reinventing your appearance, why not actually re-invent yourselves by providing more value to your customers?

I have recently read The New Capitalist Manifesto where Mr. Haque classifies your company as a struggling one of thin value and I agree. If your company is not doing well, a logo change is a fool’s way out (especially if you are trying to sell to my age-group). You provide overly trendy clothes that will be embarrassing to wear in a year and that only look good on a select few anyway. Why not make a real change and give your customer’s some real value?  Fortunately, I have a solution to bring Mr. Haque’s thick value to your customers:

The Gap should become the designers of the modern wardrobe.  Teach us how to stock a wardrobe, care for the clothes, and replace pieces.

If this were my wardrobe, what should be in it?

I love 1950’s movies where the glamorous star travels with a suitcase the size of the backpack I carry to work everyday. I have no idea how this worked. It would be great if you provided a limited collection of clothes that represent a complete wardrobe. Give us some rules of thumb. This is about selling high-quality, versatile, classic clothes.  According to Haque, what you lack is a sustainable, meaningful impact (pg. 70). I am here to present a suggestion. I don’t want to tell you what clothes I want. Leave that to threadless.com. Why don’t you tell me? If left to my devices, I would stock it with jeans, t-shirts, and polarfleece half-zips, but I know there is a way to make a wardrobe that is classic, stylish, easy to wear and care for, and would give me a little more pride than dress-down every day.

Help your customers build a wardrobe—a coherent collection of clothes.

Organize collections by season and body style. Offer limited styles, a variety of colors and patterns that all go with each other. In addition, you could begin to sell the things that help to keep these clothes nice—closet and packing supplies and clothes care.

The Modern Woman doesn't want to shop, she wants to craft her wardrobe.

What I am talking about is guiding us through how many pairs of pants we should have and of what sort. I don’t know the answer to this, but here is an example:

1 winter coat (my choice would be a camel hair coat with a navy blue polka dot lining)

7 sweaters (a wrap, a v-neck, a chunky knit, a basic crew)

9 shirts (3 button down, 3 long sleeve tees, 3 short-sleeve tees)
5 pairs of pants (1 casual dark jean, 1 stylish jean, 2 khakis, 1 stretch black pants)
socks, jammies, undies.
7 dresses
4 skirts

These options get spiced up with things are easily changed such as scarfs, socks, jewelry, and hats. When one’s clothes get worn or one wants a new look, buy part or all of a new collection. Re-invent what it means to buy clothes.

While Old Navy encourages the stock-up sale where one buys a tank top in every color offered, the new you would be all about valuing each piece and its role in one’s wardrobe. Old Navy is my go-to clothing store. It offers cheap, comfy, reliable clothes that I can stuff into my washing machine together and that will come out unharmed. But this is your opportunity, The Gap, because I don’t need another pink tank-top, I need a wardrobe.

P.S. My absolute favorite pair of pants are Gap Khakis and I do indeed want my funeral to look like this.

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