Gap Turns to VSCO, the 'Anti-Instagram,' to Create Its Holiday Gift Guide

After working with Tumblr artists to develop visuals for its "Back to Blue" campaign, Gap is turning to another creative community -- photo-editing app VSCO -- for its holiday campaign "Make Love."
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Lauren Indvik
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After working with Tumblr artists to develop visuals for its "Back to Blue" campaign, Gap is turning to another creative community -- photo-editing app VSCO -- for its holiday campaign "Make Love."
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Gap, not unlike many legacy brands that have lost their way for a time, is looking to bring authenticity back to its name. To achieve that, the American retailer is collaborating with artists that, though unknown to the general public, are popular in various online communities. After working with Tumblr artists to develop visuals for its "Back to Blue" campaign, Gap is turning to another creative community -- photo-editing app VSCO -- for its holiday campaign "Make Love."

VSCO, which is often described as "the next Instagram" or "the anti-Instagram," is a free photo-editing and sharing app that is, well, a lot like Instagram. It's gained traction among mobile photographers for its filters, or "presets," which many believe are superior to Instagram's because they make photos look more beautiful and still like photos, not like stylized Polaroids. VSCO also has the benefit of being an app that's mostly used by serious photography enthusiasts -- something Instagram, which is now used by your mom and your brother as well as your photography friend -- can no longer lay claim to.

For "Make Love," Gap partnered with seven VSCO users who acted as both models and photographers. According to Rachel Tipograph, global director of digital and social media at Gap, the seven participants were photographed for a day wearing various Gap products, and then completed a photo assignment based on one of Gap's holiday themes: fair isle, indigo, metallic, plaid, stripes, texture and warmth.

The results appear on a dedicated page on VSCO's website as well as Gap.com's holiday gift guide. Tipograph says that many of the participants are popular not only on VSCO but also on Instagram and Tumblr; it's likely the participants will share their work on those platforms as well.

Gap isn't the only fashion retailer using a community platform to power its gift guide: Topshop's online gift guide this year is made up entirely of Pinterest pins. Though using platforms like VSCO and Pinterest is certainly more complex than arranging product images to make a gift guide, both Gap and Topshop will reap the benefits of having gift guides that live -- and can be shared -- across major online platforms, not just their respective websites.