Donald Fisher’s legacy at The Gap

While it’s apparent that Mickey Drexler took The Gap to a new level, Donald Fisher deserves an enormous amount of credit for having the vision in the first place. He saw an opportunity to develop a business model tailored to fit the rapid expansion of regional malls during the ’70s and ’80s. He created one of the first specialty retailers filling a niche (or “gap”) that was being neglected by traditional department stores; in a very real way, The Gap was one of the earliest “power retailers” although not in a big-box format. And, finally, he understood the strength of branding: Even though The Gap began as a Levi’s “headquarters,” eventually the brand image of the store became bigger than the sum of its parts.

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