Getting down to bare bones with Gap

17 Aug

Did Gap goof again?

According to this Washington Post article, Gap has launched their new “Always Skinny” jeans in the UK with mannequins that might generously be described as famine fashion.

Ultra skinny mannequin for Gap "always skinny" jeans

While Gap claims that skinny jeans elongate the body, this representation of womanhood is downright scary to me. And irresponsible.

It seems there isn’t an adequate Gap between thought and action at this retailer these days.

Any parent of a young girl (like me) would be horrified at the suggestion that such emaciation equals fashion. It gives me no pleasure to take a dig at another advertiser, but where is the public pressure to put an end to the glamorization of this unhealthy stereotype? Gap should be a leader on this issue, not a perp.

(Photo courtesy of



10 Responses to “Getting down to bare bones with Gap”

  1. barry hill, copywriter August 17, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    Thanks Doug, good word… reminds me, yesterday Global TV had a spot on the sexualization of children’s advertising and clothes. A psychologist said it’s a vicious circle, but it starts with the retailer… so what to do? Perhaps the only responses could be boycotting, letters or hey — add a social media campaign to make the retailer very uncool (to both kids and mums)… maybe in this case a spin on their campaign using pics of starving kids in GAP-ish clothes; or for the sexualization issue, stats on child porn abuse overlaid on the relevant ads/homepages. Ouch, my brain hurts when I try to use it this early.
    There’s your engagement for the day. 😛

  2. Doug Brown August 17, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Interesting thoughts Baz. I am attracted to issues like these because they remain cautionary tales for agencies and their clients. We need to keep being mindful of how our decisions can be interpreted. I’m certain that Gap is aware of the issue now and are going about redressing it. Be interesting to see what happens this week. I hope they pull it and use the opportunity for some corporate social responsibility. Maybe a % of sales to a foundation that assists bulimic and anorexic teens in London?

  3. Lindsey August 17, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    I absolutely love that… “famine fashion.”

  4. Doug Brown August 17, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Not my line Lindsey! It came from the article in the WP.

  5. Lindsey August 17, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    Oh really? It sounded right up your sense of humour alley 😉

  6. Doug Brown August 17, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    It’s a dark alley that’s for sure!

  7. hitgirl August 17, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    The bright side is that when advertisers/companies become so transparent in their unrealistic and downright ridiculous presentations of how the body ‘should’ look – it becomes more obvious to everyone that they are fucking with us.

    The same goes for all the photoshopping on magazines. My kids and I were looking at a recent VF and the photo was so obviously doctored that my son asked if it was a doll.

    My hope is that this will soon turn on all the perpetrators of this unhealthy materialism and that soon they’ll be recognized as even more foolish then the women they make fools of.

  8. Doug Brown August 17, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Sandy it sure makes you appreciate the stance that a company like Dove has taken. But if any industry is going to be unrealistic, it will be fashion. The portrayal of women as aliens has been going on for decades. You just hoped that when it filtered down from the runways to the malls, most of that myopia would have been sloughed off. Apparently Gap missed the memo. Thanks for the comment.

  9. Janice August 17, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I honestly think this is a case of a conceptual idea gone horribly wrong — where nobody (either in GAP or their advertising agency) thought through the implications, and now the perfect storm is brewing.

    I think they are trying to demonstrate with the horrid mannequin that the fabric in the skinny jeans will always conform regardless of what size you are … on many very slender women, some of the fabric becomes baggy and looks unflattering. Unfortunately, they neglected to consider that using such a mannequin conjures up images of concentration camp survivors. What I can’t believe is that nobody in the company or the ad agency could have foreseen the reaction to this particular campaign. I haven’t seen any print ads, but then I haven’t paid attention to a GAP print ad in years? Were there any associated with this campaign that made it into the pages of Vogue or Cosmo? That would also be interesting, if they did!!!

  10. Doug Brown August 17, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    That’s a great question Janice, but would you even be able to note the difference between a Gap Skinny Jeans ad and all the other advertisers who routinely use emaciated models in those publications. Something has got to change!

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