2018 has been a big year for Leon Bridges. In early May, the 29-year-old singer-songwriter released his sophomore album Good Things, an adventurous bend into modern territory for the artist compared to his retro 2015 debut.
The bluesy, old-school sound of his first record, Coming Home, made good on comparisons to long-lost legends like ’50s soul star Sam Cooke. The acclaimed, falsetto-laden snapshot of a bygone era earned Bridges two Grammy nominations back in 2016, including Best R&B Album, and even took the former dishwasher and community college dropout to the White House to perform for former President Obama. But with his latest album, Bridges was eager to shake off the honorary Cooke compliment by infusing a little more hip-hop and R&B into his melodies and songwriting, resulting in a strong, 35-minute musical evolution.
Like his sound, Bridges’ style is undoubtedly unique, too (one look at his Instagram account is sure to give you outfit envy), which is why it came as no surprise when we received news that big-box retailer Gap hired the singer to front its holiday 2018 “Meet Me in the Gap” campaign.
“It is always evolving but I like looking put together,” comments Bridges on his personal style. “I like to mix vintage with up and coming designers and special, one-off pieces. I also really love including Western influences and details – I’m a Texan. I love a good coat or blazer, bomber jackets, well-fitted pants. It’s fun to look at fashion imagery and then make it your own.”
Dropping this week — right on time for sweater weather — the campaign, which spans television, mobile, social, in-store and digital, revives Gap’s iconic crazy stripes through a diverse cast outfitted in classic Gap denim paired with colourful knits and bold horizontals.
In the campaign’s video (which is sure to get stuck in your head), Bridges grooves down a pathway of oversized, vivid stripes (which leads him to the rest of the all-ages cast), while singing to a soulful rendition of The O’Jays 1973 R&B hit “Now That We’ve Found Love.” (Many of us might recognize the tune from Heavy D & The Boyz’s ’90s anthem, a killer musical sampling that catapulted rapper Heavy D to the mainstream).
According to the Gap, its cheerful holiday push is an effort to outshine today’s “edgy” political climate and gloomy 24-hour news cycle by transmitting the spirit and message of spreading love, driving positive change, and demonstrating “that feeling good and doing good go together.”
“The song is a classic, totally awesome, and also a song of love and joy. We need love right now,” says Bridges about the heartfelt melody.
Pictured in a range of signature Gap outfits — from tailored topcoats to double denim to striped knits —throughout the campaign’s visuals, we’d say the retailer hit the nail on the head on by selecting Bridges as its star. “My music is modern but has a nod to the past and my look reflects that,” he says.
Pretty much the whole vibe of Gap’s holiday campaign and offering, no?