This semester I am taking a course in consumer behavior. Basically, it is a course on why people buy the things they buy. The class fulfills a requirement in my marketing minor, but the course it taught by someone who is a psychologist. It is a very different sort of class than something like microeconomics or market research class.
Our first class assignment was due on Friday (yes, the first week of school I had homework to do). The project was to tell about a relationship we share with a brand. I decided I would blog about it, rather than create a generic PowerPoint.
I was a weird kid growing up (and arguably still am). I wasn’t weird because I was sitting in my basement playing Dungeons and Dragons until 2 AM every night, nor was I harvesting larva to breed an ecosystem of super bugs. I was weird because of the brands of clothing I wore. Mostly, it was the brands that I didn’t wear that made me stand out amongst my peers in the 3rd grade. All of the popular kids from my hometown wore Wrangler Jeans and Shirts. Yes, it was actually hip to wear Wrangler Jeans.
But if you have ever met me, you know that I am not “Team Cowboy.” I never followed the trend of Wrangler Jeans because their brand was not me. No matter how much I tried during my childhood, I could not find my inner cowboy. My personality was different than what the local fad had to offer me. So, I waltzed around in my generic jeans and graphic t-shirts my Mom bought for me from JC Penney not fitting into the local culture, because Wrangler’s products did not resonate within me. Because of the backlash I received from my peers for not wearing Wrangler, I ended up loathing the company.
During my junior high years, I jumped around from clothing store to clothing store buying whatever clothes had the lowest clearance mark down, with the exception of Wrangler. Honestly, there was a part of me that felt lost because I wasn’t the cowboy figure. It seemed like no store understood what Sam Taylor needed from his clothing.
Cue: enter Gap
It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I found out about the brand Gap. In Gap I was able to find my identity, of sorts. For the first time in my young life, I found a product that expressed the inner Sam Taylor that I was trying to express to the world. I saw myself in Gap’s clothing. It was a completely new experience for me.
The first article of clothing I bought from Gap was a red and brown striped scarf, and I wore that item with pride. I was openly mocked by my classmates at school for wearing a scarf, but the effects of their words were lessened because I knew there were other people with similar taste to mine out there. People who got me. There were people out there who didn’t wear Wrangler. The realization that I was not alone in my sense of style was groundbreaking in my search for my own identity as a teenager. Because I felt like I belonged in Gap clothing I formed an emotional attachment to the brand.
I am fiercely loyal to Gap. What started with one scarf, exploded into nearly an entire Gap wardrobe. For those haters out there, I know Gap clothes are a little bit more expensive, but I would rather spend more money and buy less items than break off my “relationship” with Gap. Nowadays, I truly believe Gap jeans fit me better than any other jean out there, and I doubt anyone or anything could convince me otherwise.
Below are photos of each article of clothing I own from Gap. I consider Gap to be my addiction and one I’m not willing to break.
Right about here I start to feel a little bit ridiculous, but there is more. Lots more:
Now, it is time for accessories…
And, it doesn’t end with just clothing:
As more proof, here is a candid and flattering photo me making dinner this past semester.
Socks: JC Penney
What can I say? They have me hooked. It is a rare day when I don’t wear something from Gap.
Remember how I talked about there being other people out there like me? You know, people who don’t wear Wrangler. Turns out, when I moved from Mona those other people became my friends. We didn’t become friends because we shop at Gap. We became friends, and then later realized we shop at Gap.
Now that I am in marketing courses, I realize we are all just apart of their target market, but I call Gap’s target market my friends. Market segmentation works!
I found my identity in Gap, and they gave me friends as well. Thanks Gap, Inc.