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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked and Racked New York for over a year. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion (which—as far as he's concerned—are essentially the same thing) even better with his brand new column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.
Last week you released an embarrassing new logo with very little fanfare—no press parade, no contests or interactivity, no party (well, we weren't invited to one but that's not much of a barometer). Was it because you knew it's just absolutely the worst? That it's Web 2.0—like the logo from some long-defunct website that disappeared when the tech-bubble burst. It might have been forward-looking had today been October 12th, 1998; but it's not. And, yuck—who wants to look back to right after 1998? Rap-metal and all those ugly-husband-pretty-blond-wife sitcoms and fashion was basically Prada Red Line-inspired black, techno-fabric astronaut-wear. No thanks, we have neither the shoulders for minimalism nor the sweat glands for synthetics.
The whole scenario is outrageous, a pretty major misstep. And it's not like you don't know it—you're backpedaling faster than anyone who has ever championed Zac Posen. It's a test! It's a contest! It's a trial! We like it but not that much! It's ongoing. It's a process! Just say it, Gap, just say it sucks.
The fact of the matter is your old logo was great. Iconic. American. Classic. Enduring. And—hi, have you heard? This whole, like, enduring, classic American thing is really happening right now in apparel. Kind of like how all that minimalist Euro-SCUBA suiting reigned back in the days of Limp Bizkit (having to spell it like that still offends us, these are people who named an album "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"). Perhaps you've met J.Crew—they're like owning you in a major way right now. Even Tommy Hilfiger is back—sort of. Get with it, Gap!
We have fond memories of you, Gap. Well-made basics—your pocket tees and carpenter jeans and sweater vests were the backbone of our high school wardrobes. And as our tastes changed we merely had to look onto the next racks over for crepe-y washed-linen tuxedo shirts in mouse gray, hard bias-cut denim, army pants with top-stitched pockets, garishly-colored corduroys and whatever loud but lovable holiday sweater you used in October and November ads that would invariably end up in our closets (along with the matching scarf).
We don't even need to talk about the conductor's striped overalls we bought for $4.99 and sometimes-regrettably immortalized in our first driver's license photo.
You enveloped our lives. You were everywhere. You were a part of pop culture (SNL's skits could be trumped only by the ingeniousness of Janeane Garofalo gift-wrapping her retro-grunge riot grrrl persona in pleats and chambray to manage a Texas outlet in Reality Bites (Best Movie Ever, Criterion Collection-worthy)). You were scents and swim and body and shoes and leather and—omigod, remember the music? Gap definitely helped us discover the Softies, Saint Etienne, the Incredible Moses Leroy and Aimee Mann. We fell into the Gap—fell hard. We truly grew up Gap.
We know, shit's hard. Forever 21 and H+M are all up in your business—but cheaper and faster. But we don't want to shop there. And we don't want to shop at J.Crew either—the fits aren't so great for us and, let's be honest, increase those prices by 20 or 30 percent and you're at contemporary. We'd rather the tag in our shirt read Marc by Marc or PS or Gant or Polo or Penguin than J.Crew (how are we the only people that feel this way?)
Listen—with the possible exception of PacSun you remain our favorite mall store—if only because the excitement of finding ourselves in a suburban mall withers just as soon as we've bum-rushed Auntie Anne's and realized none of the band tee shirts at Hot Topic have any relevance to our post-teen, post-angst lives and we need to spend our money somewhere just to feel alive.
Bring back the old logo. Hell, bring back the old clothes—you know, nip the patterns here and there. Fits have changed. We already like the lowered prices and the 1969 denim and some of the cute little things Patrick Robinson has made happen. It'll be okay. You'll always have a special place. But seriously, man, that logo. No words (except for all those ones above).
· Logomania [RNA]