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INTO THE GAP: ART CLUB 2000

I STILL REMEMBER that jingle and how sinister it sounded to me: “Fall into the Gap.” It was worse than the U2 song “I will follow.” It made me think of the abyss. Later I would be troubled by the slogan “For every generation there’s a Gap.” There’s nothing overtly evil about it, but the ambiguity of this line nagged at me. Are generation gaps good?

But over the years, as the Gap clothing-store chain evolved and grew into a new kind of retail operation, not to mention a philosophy of life, I came to accept and patronize it. There’s much to like about the Gap. The quality is good, the price is right. It even had a historic impact because it embodied a sort of back-to-basics revolt against designerism and new hope for indebted fashion victims. It made basic hip.

As for their famous advertising campaign “Individuals of Style”—the one featuring real people of varying degrees of realness wearing

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