Jun 19, 2023
by Sofia de la Cruz
A Match Made in Retro Heaven: Gap Taps Sean Wotherspoon for First Vintage Collection
by Sofia de la Cruz
Jun 19, 2023

Thrifting – or charity shopping or whatever you want to call it – is an all-consuming pursuit. It’s about discovery, sustainability, and – of course – the art of gatekeeping. Once the purview of a small subsection of shoppers, however, crate-digging for vintage clothes isn’t just cultural phenomenon – it’s a part of mainstream culture.

Proof of this, should you need it, can be seen in Sean Wotherspoon’s collaboration with Gap for their first-ever vintage collection. As the designer of Nike Air Max 97/1 and a renowned sneakerhead, Wotherspoon has meticulously curated a Spring/Summer range exclusively composed of 100% vintage garments, personally sourced by his own hand.

Despite the American retailer’s previous attempts to capture the immensely popular techno-raver aesthetic, as demonstrated through their unsuccessful “Yeezy Gap engineered by Balenciaga” venture, the true essence and value of the Gap label lie in their nostalgic allure. And Sean Wotherspoon fully understands this.

Identifying himself as a devoted “Gap” kid, this plant-based advocate has reportedly been an ardent fan of the brand since his mother worked at a Gap store back in the ’90s. Therefore, for this special capsule collection, his quest was to encapsulate that authentic, classic, and nostalgic ambiance.

Known for their high-quality utilitarian basics, Gap has a history that deserves to be celebrated. And so, Wotherspoon embarked on a journey, browsing vintage shops, flea markets, archive stores, and even his personal collection, in pursuit of the most exceptional pieces.

The assortment includes an array of treasures drawn from Gap’s ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s back catalog, breathing new life into numerous t-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, jackets, and a plethora of other garments. Among them, there are signature logo-emblazoned hoodies and tees, striped and checked patterns, as well as timeless denim staples. These pieces hail from various corners of the globe, and they are available in a range of sizes from XS to XL.

Describing the creative process behind this collaboration, Wotherspoon explains, “I worked closely with Gap, traversing vintage shops and flea markets worldwide, while drawing inspiration from my personal collection of vintage Gap items. Additionally, we explored their extensive archive in NYC, unearthing the very essence of Gap’s legacy.”

He added: “I think people are obsessed with vintage because of the quality, character, and style. There are so many staple styles that came from GAP that I want to unearth. Vintage clothing can give you the greatest opportunity to express your individuality. That’s what’s most important to me.”

While Gap has already taken commendable steps towards sustainability, offering responsibly made garments that utilize recycled materials, organic cotton, and water-saving initiatives, this collaborative project further reinforces the brand’s commitment to being “A force for good.”

Still, while “progress over perfection” remains the mantra, it’s worth noting that there’s still a few aspects of the partnership that could use a little more transparency.

Firstly, there’s the issue of sourcing: it’s all well and good to pick up high-end vintage items as a part of your regular routine, but – in putting this collection together – we’ve no idea how many air miles went into the collaborative effort. And then there’s the pricing: the tag on these items raises some questions about accessibility – with the cost of a tee at $55 USD, these are double the typical price of graphic tees available on the website.

While this collaboration undoubtedly offers added value, it seems there may be a missed opportunity regarding profit donations, especially considering the potential for sourcing vintage Gap items at lower prices or through upcycling existing pieces.

Even so, we’re happy to see yet another collaboration with sustainability in mind and which understands that “newness” isn’t always necessary for the fashion industry.

Take a look at the drop in the gallery above and – while the collection is now sold out online – you can shop the Wotherspoon-curated pieces at Gap’s physical store in The Grove, Los Angeles.

In case you missed it, read about the Roshe Run return dilemma. Should nike prioritize sustainability over legacy?