Fashion trends often come and go, and after the return of low rise jeans, which were once the go-to look for Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian in the early 2000s this year and visible thongs, it was only a matter of time before branded apparel had its own comeback.
On TikTok, which has become a hub for emerging (or should we say re-merging) trends, the #gaphoodies hashtag has now achieved up 8.3million views.
The Gap brand was founded in San Francisco in 1969 and reached its cultural peak in the 1990s and early 2000s, becoming a favourite among models, stylish teens and even dads.
But like a lot of businesses during lockdown, Gap struggled financially and in October 2020 it was announced the company planned to close 350 stores in North America by the end of 2023.
In July 2021 Gap announced its plans to shut down all 81 of its UK and Ireland stores by the end of the year.
But it appears the company’s fortunes could be shifting thanks to Gen-Z and their obsession with everything Y2K.
Whether they’ve been buying Gap hoodies online, including items from the decade-long collaboration with Kanye West’s brand Yeezy launched in 2020, or rummaging through their parents’ old clothes, Gap is back.
Scott Shashua, managing director at streetwear brand The Couture Club, said he was not surprised to see the rise of Gap and thanks to TikTok. “Gap was my go-to when I was at High School,” the 32-year-old from Cheshire said. “They’ve done a phenomenal job with their Marketing this year, the Yeezy collab brought back huge relevance to a brand that’s been around for so long”.
Scott, who described Gap as being “Comfortable and affordable” said it is one of many brands that have had a popularity boost thanks to Gen-Z, including the Gucci challenge.
“Fashion brands can elevate their brand awareness through user-generated content. The Couture Club itself has had multiple influencers go Viral in full outfits, but are planning to utilise this platform ever further in 2022”.
Al MacCuish, chairman and co-founder of The Sunshine Company, a luxury fashion consultancy brand, called the Gap hoodie one of the only ‘genuinely’ iconic pieces from the Y2K era.
“Gap was one of the pioneers of converging fame and accessibility – they produced some of the greatest marketing of that era with campaigns that featured Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Kirsten Dunst and Jessica Alba.
“It was engineered accessibility.”
Al also says TikTokers are the new supermodels and their influence over trends, such as the Gap hoodie revival, shows how powerful they are. “What interesting about today’s phenomenon is to a degree the TikTokers are the new supermodels.
“They have influence, direct audiences and are, at heart, entertaining and informing their followers. They are incredibly powerful channels of influence for the brand and a key part of any sustainable future success beyond this moment.”