Despite the ups and downs of clothes retailing, US brand The Gap still seems omnipresent while other, younger, competitors flounder (think American Apparel). It’s not had an easy time recently, with changes of senior management and swathes of store closures but after over 50 years it still resonates with an element of cool. This new publication, the third in a series that has already featured Kickers and Timberland, takes a close up look at The Gap through the eyes of a number of contemporary fashion designers and writers.
We featured Korean project B Magazine here recently; that series of magazines takes a more business-orientated look at its subjects brands. Document is positioned more creatively, studying the history and influence of its featured fashion brands. Kickers and Timberland were less interesting to me, but The Gap has the back story to justify the project. Born in the sixties, it revolutionised the worlds day-to-day wardrobes to the point of cliché. Like anything, wear too much of it and it becomes naff.
But Gap’s chest pocket T’s (above), indigo jeans and field jackets remain staples, and as interviewee Tim Blanks points out, ‘it’s wonderful having something you wear over and over again.’ The magazine is packed with serious names like Blanks, lending it heavyweight credibility.
Show Studio’s Lou Stoppard pops up interviewing former Gap stylist Nancy Rohde, while Fantastic Man’s fashion director Julian Ganio puts together a story about indigo denim (above). The names are neatly highlighted with roughly added underlines and circling, adding a casual element to the otherwise crisp pages (below) designed by Mark Thompson.
Designers line up to add their support; CP Company (above), Our Legacy and PRPS all feature, and there’s a collaboration between Gap and young Londoner Christopher Raeburn based on the Gap field jacket (below). This is the one overt intervention from the subject brand in the issue. Otherwise, the stories are about, not from, Gap.
The Gap Document is a beautifully produced large-format magazine that brings to life its subject and does a good job of reviving Gap’s cool, reminding us of its past and its continued influence. It’s funded by Gap, but editorial director David Hellqvist explained to me that his brief was to look at the company and its garments from his own point of view. ‘It’s not dictated by an in-house marketing team but by me and my team of writers, stylists and photographers.’
That team is an impressive one and they’ve delivered a magazine that will make you want to revisit Gap next time you pass a store. It’s impressive to see a magazine force the reader to change perceptions of a brand so succesfully; hence The Gap Document is our latest magazine of the week.