When asked to recall a brand with a reputation for continually pushing and redefining its aesthetic choices, we have to admit that Gap wasn’t at the top of our list. But, now, thanks to the work of Joel Evey, the clothing retailer’s senior director of the global creative studio, that may be about to change.
Originally from California, Joel has been working for the brand out of New York City. Since arriving at the brand, Joel has been working on an “under-the-radar” project which tests the boundaries of the Gap brand from a visual perspective, “to see where the edges are, and make content that could take more risks than I could with the main Gap image”.
Titled Gap Editions, the series is now in its tenth edition, a milestone issue which has led Joel to release the work. Shot by Jarod Taber and Jack Bool, it explores ideas of youth and adventure in a romantic, idealised manner.
When asked why he made the decision to keep the work private until now, Joel responds: “It’s a bit like showing someone your sketchbook right? Showing a single page of that sketchbook might not make sense, but once you have enough sketchbooks filled to show an arc or investigation, then it feels like the right time to make it public.”
The project first began in early 2018, but it wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision, he recalls. “It began pretty organically with candid pictures myself and others took during one of our campaign shoots.” During this time, however, Joel realised he could utilise this process to help connect Gap with a younger, more culturally aware audience. The Gap Editions then evolved as a way to produce “proof of concept work that demonstrated the vision the team had,” he tells us, “it quickly grew from being generated purely in-house, to involving friends and collaborators – asking them to answer the same questions, ‘where is the edge? how far is too far?’ and it kept going from there.”
So far, Gap Editions has included collaborations with Actual Source, Scott Berry, Wax Studios and many more with Joel adding: “It’s very hard to pick favourites on a project like this because I love them all, but a few things that stand out are Molly Matalon’s soft representations of masculinity, Luca Venter’s use of colour, and Dan McMahon wonderful sense of timing. They all very much inspire me.” It’s here in which the strength of Gap Editions is most obvious – in Joel’s commissioning. By bringing together photographers, directors, stylists and other creatives, he’s produced work which is not only altogether surprising for a brand like Gap, but proves how refreshing it can be when you’re willing to try something new.
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