Kenneth Cleaver

Consumer Correspondent

Gap Inc. One Harrison Street San Francisco, CA 94105

Dear Gap Inc.:

It appears that Gap Inc. has attained a state of cultural prominence seconded only by such venerable institutions as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and the Mormon Church. Please do not mistake this letter as an homage to your hegemony or as an encomium to the “easy fit” empire. It is not my style to grovel. My concern is that Gap Inc. must root itself deeper into American culture and history if it expects to sustain the loyalty of future generations. As you are certainly aware, fashion is dictated by seasonal trends. While constant change may be good for business in the short term, it carries the seed of its own destruction. How often do we sneer at the obsolescence of last year’s outfit?

If Gap Inc. can connect itself to a larger historical framework, consumers will feel that their patronage transcends a mere commodity exchange; that khakis don’t just rock, swing, and perform West Side Story, but connect us with something larger than ourselves. The following suggestions outline a methodology from which Gap Inc. can be transformed and transcend itself for the new millennium.

The Great Gap Rebellion of 1988! Like the colonists of old, join with Gap Inc. as it re-creates the glorious days of yore when corporate revolutionaries unshackled themselves from the tyranny of Levis jeans. What sacrifices were made so Gap Inc. could peddle only its own denims?

The Rise and Fall of the Stonewash Confederacy! What social and economic factors led to the birth of stonewash? Why did it fail? And, after so many years, why do so many people still cling to its legacy?

The Brain Trust Just as John Locke theorized the emerging capitalist marketplace in On Liberty, so too might Camille Paglia theorize Gap Inc. in On Corduroy! By employing our great minds to debate the politics of the store’s gender divide, the merits of original vs. easy fit would reinvent Gap Inc. as an intellectual community in itself.

If I can lend my mind in these efforts, do to hesitate to get in touch. Good luck and Godspeed!

Sincerely, Kenneth Cleaver

Dear Mr. Cleaver:

Thank you for your letter and interest in developing marketing ideas with us.

I am sorry for this disappointing response, but because all our promotional campaigns are created in-house, we’re unable to consider or accept unsolicited work. In order to avoid any misunderstanding concerning the origins of work we may develop in the future, we must return your material to you unreviewed.

Again, we appreciate hearing from you and regret we can’t be more responsive in this case.

Sincerely, Christie Allair Corporate Communication

From the September 6-12, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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