What Does the Gap Stand For in Clothing?

Donald Fisher, the company’s creator, struggled to find the appropriate size of blue jeans while shopping at a department store, which led to the creation of The Gap. By that time, blue jeans were so well-liked that he could picture a store where they were the main item on display. The term “generation gap,” first used in the 1960s, is referenced in The Gap.

Until the second part of the 1960s, blue jeans were predominantly used as labour clothes. They weren’t a staple of every day attire. They were first worn in public by the young counterculture of the late 1960s as a protest against conformity. Blue jeans immediately became the ultra-hip item to own as the trend caught on.

Unfortunately, supply did not keep up with demand. To address the void left by the rising demand for jeans, Fisher and his wife made the decision to open a shop exclusively selling blue jeans. The 14 to 25 year old demographic, whose own fashion preferences were evolving, lacked a market that catered to young people.

The Fishers formed The Gap in 1969. For this reason, The Gap continues to refer to its signature brand of jeans as 1969, and jeans continue to be the company’s flagship item.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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