It is hard to categorize The Gap Body as “unique,” given the large number of retailers who specialize in women’s clothing, including undergarments, sleepwear, and items designed to enhance one’s feminine attributes. The Gap’s success has often been attributed to its ability to design and market clothing to a young, affluent demographic and to produce advertisements that emphasize its “coolness.” While it has certainly been successful, especially from a marketing perspective, the Gap Body is simply not particularly unique. Effective at capturing the current zeitgeist with regard to fashion, but not “unique” in the sense of setting itself markedly apart from its competition.
Victoria’s Secret, on the other hand, can certainly be categorized as “unique.” Whereas companies of its type once existed at the fringe of the fashion industry, Victoria’s Secret succeeded where no one else dared even try: becoming mainstream despite its overt and overwhelming emphasis on sex. It is the rare shopping mall that doesn’t include a Victoria’s Secret store these days, and its runway shows and models have become a standard of the fashion industry. In fact, Victoria’s Secret has succeeded in insinuating itself into the American subconscious to such an extent that its name has become synonymous with beauty and eroticism. Many a manufacturer of all manner of merchandise would kill for such a status in the American culture.
Victoria’s Secret and The Gap Body are two highly successful retailers. Only one, however, can be considered to have attained a special status in the world of retail clothing.