Old-Fashioned Optimism

Jeans are fundamental to the American wardrobe.  Durability and a purposeful design have made jeans the quintessential outfit for free time at home and on the road.  Jeans are the right gear for pushing new boundaries while hiking in one of the magnificent National Parks, riding a horse along the Pacific coast, voting, or bravely pursuing your cause.  Jeans embody our ideals about the freedom to choose a career, build personal style, and make a positive contribution to our country.  

Innovative denim blends and designer inventiveness have made denim the answer to so many “what to wear” questions.  Seeking to spark a renewed interest in their brand, Gap hired Rebekka Bay, a native of Denmark, as Creative Director in 2012.1 Given her experience as a trend forecaster and her success with the Scandinavian brand, COS, her first collection in Spring of 2014 generated a lot of excitement in the fashion industry. 2 

"There's no garment that has bigger
cultural relevance,"  Rebekka Bay

Ms. Bay experimented with denim’s versatility and designed jeans that can be dressed up or down with a t-shirt or silk blouse, heels or boots, a new blazer or vintage sweater.  She introduced eye-catching separates while maintaining the comfort Americans expect from Gap.  Silhouettes were altered with noticeable impact: cropped sweatshirts, streamlined tunics, collarless jackets, and updated styles for the classic 1969 jeans.  

“I want to get to the point where we can close our eyes, feel the material, 
and know just from touch that it’s a Gap jean,”  4

Ms. Bay's enthusiasm for the intrinsic value of denim in American culture inspired her to design a collection that complements an enterprising, yet laid-back attitude.  She improved the look and feel of Gap's casual classics by using materials with an authentic texture that's enhanced with time.  Just like leather gloves take the shape of your hands, denim fades into a personalized pattern of crease marks, frayed edges, and a comfortable fit.  

“I’m not here to fix Gap, she says.  “I’m here to help reclaim 
a promise of a lifestyle-an American lifestyle.”  5

Even though Ms. Bay’s vision for Gap extends worldwide, her sensitivity to American ideals is admirable.  Reclaiming the promise of an American lifestyle in 2014 seems like a monumental task in this age of choosing sides.  Perhaps Ms. Bay's respect for Gap’s heritage will inspire a new trend of optimism that will be the catalyst for fulfilling the promise.  Confidence in the future unites people and inspires greatness.  With accomplishments as grand as the Golden Gate Bridge and expeditions as ambitious as hiking across the country, old-fashioned optimism is needed to guide the big thinkers and brave souls who count on the best qualities of Americans.


Jacques, Rajni Lucienne, (2014).  She’s Reinventing a Classic (Gap!).  
Glamour, August, p. 66.