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Rainer Hosch

Designs on Success

Patrick Robinson

Executive Vice President of Design
Gap Adult and Gap Body

After stints at Armani, Perry Ellis, and Paco Rabanne, Patrick Robinson is leading Gap's design team.

"I've been walking by Gap for the past five years and screaming at the windows. Since I took the job, I'll be on a plane and someone will ask what I do. I tell them I'm the head of Gap design and they just go off on me. You hear it from analysts on Wall Street, friends, family—everyone.

Gap is supposed to make classic American clothes—the pea coat, the white shirt, the denim jean—cooler and more relevant every year. It's not a brand that should play like H&M and Zara, where it's a takedown from the fashion runways.

Wall Street will tell me if it's mission accomplished. The public votes with the purchase of the stock. But for me, the true indicator of success is getting people excited when they come to the store and having them walk out with a shopping bag."

Rainer Hosch

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7 Comments

  • Richard Lipscombe

    You raise the pertinent issues of management, leadership, and innovation. 2008 is a 'change up' year for all of us. If you work for a business/company that is not listening closely to customers' needs, is not able to change quickly and cost effectively, and not aware of the new competition coming at it from every nook and cranny - then move on now. The full impact and flow on from the sub prime meltdown will play out over the next 2 years - it will change business models dramatically. In the next 2 years your business must be low cost and able to present customers with low priced quality goods and services or you will be history. Good luck to all at GAP.

  • Kemper Burt

    GAP is an American staple and I hope that Patrick can make them relevant again. During the 90's the GAP did what Zara and H&M are doing today ... selling fashionable clothes at a great price point. Customers aren't fickle, they're incredibly savvy and they're always looking for newness that won't break the bank. I think the GAP can still play in that game. In my humble opinion they have to find away to excite customers again. Something the Levi's store struggles to do and they are a hallmark for American classic. Patrick is on to something; his challenge will be to forecast shopper’s habits. Isn't that everyone's problem though? Good luck Mr. Robinson, I look forward to seeing GAP emerge has a true American Classic.

  • Jennifer Dechant

    I really love every piece I've gotten at the Gap, especially the cotton tees and ribbed tees. I have super long legs so need the length, and love all my jeans: Wow they fit my tall body. My sister even commented on my cool jeans so she got some.
    Jen Dechant

  • Six Pak

    The consumer is a fickle friend, which ultimately means that you can't please everyone all of the time. If you are always chasing your competitors, you will never get ahead, instead stay true to who you are and others will follow. I have been a long time shopper/believer of the Gap Inc brands as well as my family and friends; we haven't always agreed on all of the organization decisions, but we believe in what they stand for and continue to shop there. BTW...I have to disagree, you can never get enough of a good thing.

  • Jerry Freeman

    GAP=Classic Hip. It's a lifestyle. To embody that lifestyle, the brand needs anticipate where the Classic Hip mindset will be and get there ahead of everyone else. Looking back to determine classic is flawed thinking. When new designs are unveiled, the customer should think, "I'd be crazy not to buy that." One thought, Classic Hip is driven by demographics, mainly age and ethnicity.

  • Camille Acey

    But I guess bumping up the quality would turn them into J Crew? Oops. Maybe the world just doesn't need The Gap any more?

  • Camille Acey

    GAP has fallen off in recent years. I am excited to see what Mr. Robinson can do. While he might not want to be like H&M or Zara, he might be interested in those kinds of profits. It may just be that people who actually shop are not so interested in classic American. How many plain white button ups does anyone need? If they want to be a general store like that, selling generic "classic" things, then they need to bump up the quality or something because we can find all those staples and then some at any old Zara or H&M.