The Gap to Enter China

The first shop of the largest American fashion retailer will open here next year, according to the LA Times. There’s much discussion there about where the Gap will fit into the retail landscape. The arrival of the Uniqlos, H&Ms, Zaras, C&As, and other foreign mass fashions is one of the big stories of the last years. Fast fashion took a lot longer to arrive than luxury brands – the middle class has exploded only after a wealthy class had already emerged.

How will Gap, with its more conservative designs, and likely higher prices compete for young buyers who tend to be more fashion forward than their US counterparts? Perhaps it will instead target an older group group of buyers, who might also have the physique to wear Gap’s more generous fits. The market actually does lack the higher quality (compared to Zara) basics offered by Gap and Banana Republic. Good, but affordable, simple office and casual clothes in natural fibers might be the main appeal of Gap or Banana Republic.

I’m not a big fan of Gap or Old Navy. Banana Republic has a few more items that I like, but it also doesn’t offer much that is distinctive. One can’t expect such large chains to have personality. Still, I would say that J. Crew has a bit more style. Anyway, all of them produce most of their items right here in big bad China.

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