Philip Lim for GAP

April 29, 2008

It's Philip Lim for GAP! 

Here's the real ad, if you can't tell that it's him on the billboard:
I was reading up on the campaign and apparently it's a "shirt" thing where GAP invites prominent designers to do a spin on the classic white shirts. 

Traditionally, we only see the pairing of Asian females with Caucasian males. This ad breaks that monotony. 

I showed the picture to my friend, who's Asian American himself, and he said that he doesn't like it when people put so much emphasis on seeing an Asian face at noticeable places. But I can't help feeling excited when I do. Sometimes, it's not even an excited feeling, but more just "hey, this dude is Asian." When I open a catalogue or a brochure, sometimes, that's just where my eyes go. They focus on the person with features like mine (or a really, really good looking handbag). My friend says that it shouldn't matter, because soon, our society is going to look multiethnic, and so will the things that we see. 

I feel skeptical. Just look at Abercrombie's stance on its marketing, and how it's clinging to a society that many of us are not familiar with, even in the face of the changing colorlines of America. 

I make a note of these things because I feel that it's relevant, to me. These things don't dictate the way I live, as they're mere encouragements. How do you feel about it? 


Lisa Lee


Lisa Lee works in User Operations at Facebook, and has more than five years of nonprofit experience in marketing and communications for multicultural arts and cultural organizations.



Months ago,I saw another gap billboard that featured Philip Lim and was happy and intrigued. That's part of why I searched google for the ad and came across this blog. I think the ad is pretty neutral,...positive even. Considering how Asian men have been historically (and to an extent, currently) portrayed in American media, this is a big step in the right direction. I also took note of the earlier gap ads that featured Ken Watanabe.
I am glad to see that they are showing a more diverse representation of our community. Regardless I don;t like seeing any group over or under sexed, since I think it is demeaning to objectify anyone as such. Clearly this add, like most does that. It's hard to say if one can make any conclusions about corporate America from this add. However for me, to see people that look like me in the media, as trivial as it sounds, is a validation that this society does recognize that I exist. That in itself is comforting in a small but weird way.
Philip Lim is not the first Asian American designer they've showcased with these special edition shirts. Last year they had Doo-Ri and Thakoon design shirts for them.I think it's great they are showcasing these more up-and-coming designers, and that it includes Asian Americans. I definitely notice when an Asian person is in the media or an ad campaign. We still live in an age where that's not exactly an everyday occurrence, so I always notice.
ken, i'm interested in how you think that this ad is over or undersexed. i thought about that too when i was writing this blog and to me, the ad looks pretty neutral? interested to hear your thoughts on it.