Welcome to “After Hours,” a new series showcasing the creative, passionate people that make Gap Inc. They are more than their titles; they are innovative individuals with awesome stories to share.
David Brown fully admits that MTV and pop-culture played a huge role in shaping who he is today.
“There was Aaliyah, she always had great videos," he said of those he watched as a kid. “Missy Elliott, she used to use a lot of kids in her videos, so she was somebody I always wanted to dance with. Janet Jackson, absolutely — love her stuff, still do. And boy bands, boy bands, boy bands."
Rhythm has coursed through David's veins since the music video channel heyday, manifesting the moment he hit the stage at 8 years old during a local talent show with his brother and sister. “I was hooked. Dancing and choreography became like second nature to me; the stage was my second home."
Now 24, that 'second home' is close to everything David does in his life. That includes infusing that passion into his work as a social media specialist with Gap's 34th Street flagship in New York City. He's the guy behind the “New York Lives in Gap" video series that includes the holiday hit capturing the spirit of the brand's past with a refreshingly forward spin.
Without an actual budget, David relied on his own dancing and choreography skills (and crowd-sourcing) to pull off what by all accounts looks like a legit commercial. Credit his years of training — first with a local dance group in his native Boston, then later in New York.
“I have been training at Broadway Dance Center in all styles, but my specialty is commercial hip-hop," he said. “I do choreography as well. My goal is to be a creative director in the commercial industry — television as well as live entertainment."
Thanks to Store Director Sean Mills, David's been able to mix work with performance, while also achieving the store's goal of reaching young customers.
“He explained to me that we were trying to target millennials… So I did some of my own research," David said. Turns out, he fit the description. “I looked at it like, 'OK, what would make [the product] look interesting to me? How would I want to see this interpreted and come across that would make me want to buy it and wear it?'"
David's first project was a “lookbook" featuring the latest trends and collections. He crowd-sourced that whole project via the store's social media channels and was able to put together a professional-level piece.
“I felt like when I put stuff out there the way we were wearing it, it increased our sales and our following in general," he said. “We also started building relationships with customers."
Not wanting to play out the lookbook concept, David decided he was going to up his own game through the video series. “The whole campaign was created to show that Gap is for everyone," he said. “It's current and it's trendy."
The second video of the series features one of David's friends, local DJ Tiff McFIERCE, rocking Gap product in her own style for the cold weather, and a third will highlight GapFit product.
David recently signed with Bloc Agency New York to take his dance career to the next level. “Tomorrow it could be an audition for Beyoncé or for Bieber or for a Gap commercial; what's next really depends on where my life is going to take me."
As he sees it, David's future is all in his attitude.
“I'm a true believer that you really can create the life that you want. I never believed in settling," he said. “Considering where I was a year ago, to see how much things have 360'd based on my drive and passion to do what I love, I had a vision and I did it. I was able to create my job, which I love, and create the life I want and live it. I love taking risks, and that's really all there is to it."