Holiday season at Gap is all about the crazy stripe. Each year they take on a life of their own, but they’re always a fan favorite. We sat down with the designer behind this year’s crazy stripe to get the dish – how it came to be, what makes it unique and why leading a project like this is a designer’s dream.
Meet Jenny, Senior Design Director of women’s knits and sweaters. She’s been at Gap for two years and was previously in design at Banana Republic for a decade.
Let’s talk crazy stripes …
What was your role in this year’s crazy stripe assortment?
This holiday’s crazy stripe is the first “crazy” that I worked on, so it was exciting to see how it all works.
It all starts with inspiration from Wendi, EVP of Product Design and Development at Gap. She identifies how “crazy” should show up across the brand and then we work closely with the print team to make sure we are bringing the vision to life. We also partner with the CAD team to determine the exact colors that will make up the stripes. It’s important we pick out special sweater mélange colors – think a gorgeous salt and pepper marl, the perfect red and the best blue. Working on pieces that are so important to our heritage at Gap is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Each year we commit to making crazy stripe product a priority for holiday. How do we keep it fresh each year, knowing our customers are looking forward to it?
From a design standpoint, we always look at what silhouettes and details are going to make crazy feel fresh and exciting, and really put a new spin on an iconic idea. This could be from the way we finish the neckline on the classic crewneck sweater, to how we put a stripe in a new and unexpected silhouette. You’ll see this mindset in this year’s lurex sweater and hoodie.
For the first time ever, we integrated some “crazy” intarsias in a big way … we put the crazy stripe into the classic GAP logo, filled the word “LOVE” with the crazy stripe, etc.
Where do you and your team get your inspiration?
We think it is really fun to riff off what is happening in fashion right now and twist it in a way that is relevant for “crazy” stripe. Silhouette-wise, we get inspiration from new proportions that are happening; the hoodie is a great example. Sweats are such a massive trend so we definitely wanted to incorporate that into the “crazy” package this year. Our version has a subtle bell sleeve and kangaroo pocket – design details that make it special.
What is your favorite crazy stripe item and why?
Definitely the hoodie! It’s a fun, sporty take on our classic stripe, and it captures the essence of crazy and Gap as a whole … fun, optimistic, effortless.
One of the things that we love about crazy stripe is how giftable it is for everyone in the family. What are some gifts that you are looking forward to giving (or receiving!) this year?
I’m seeing a lot of amazing accessories this year, so I’m looking forward to giving (and receiving) some of those. I am especially excited about giant cozy blanket scarves in all sorts of yummy patterns and colors.
Aside from crazy stripe, I’m really excited about velvet pieces for the holidays. Velvet is everywhere these days!
Crazy stripe has become a true holiday tradition here at Gap. What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?
This may sound cheesy, but one of my favorite holiday traditions in our family is to buy my two young sons and their grandparents matching holiday jammies with their nicknames embroidered on the chest. We visit the grandparents every year, have them open up the jammy presents on Christmas eve, and they all wear them all day on Christmas.