‘It lost its way in terms of style and quality ages ago’, Fiona Phillips writes (Image: Getty)

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High street clothes store Gap is closing all its shops in the UK and Ireland. I am shocked. Not at the closure news, but that they were still trading in the first place.

When was the last time you bought anything from Gap? They’ll still operate online, ­apparently, but what’s the point?

It’s a dying brand that seems to have forgotten who its customers are.

It lost its way in terms of style and quality ages ago, and was deservedly shoved out of the way by stores such as Muji and Uniqlo, home to some of the most simple yet stylish clothing, plus ­homeware, on the high street.

Sadly, and it really does sadden me to say this, Gap won’t leave a GAPing hole in the market, nor will it be missed.

I haven’t seen a single item that I would be tempted to buy in years now. Although I do have one treasured black, tight-fitting, high neck, short-sleeved T-shirt that I bought in Los Angeles after Sharon Stone caused a stampede to the store when she wore one to the Oscars in 1996.

I was covering the awards for GMTV, the UK’s leading breakfast show at the time, and Sharon’s Gap T-shirt was the star of the show when she proudly wore it after an ironing ­accident with the designer gown she was supposed to be wearing.

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Gap’s sales soared and it became THE place to rummage around in. The Sharon T-shirt is still a leading player in my wardrobe too, even though it’s more a greyish black now due to the number of times it’s been worn and washed for, literally, decades.

If Gap stocked it now, it would fly off the shelves; I mean who could sniff at a bargain, future wardrobe staple, that still looks good after decades, albeit, a tiny bit less dark black than it was in its prime?

It’s sad that Gap has lost its magic formula.

Fashion, even the classic stuff that was so successful for the high-street chain, for decades, clearly isn’t working any more, and it could be, by taking a leaf out Uniqlo’s book.

The Japanese store stocks ­brilliant quality basics, such as white T-shirts, cashmere knitwear, chic, thin fleeces and stylish Japanese black jeans which are THE best on the high street.

They’re a once-bought forever-a-fan purchase, as are their ultra-light down compact jackets – in case of a cold, blustery day – that pack away in your bag.

So, thanks for your service over the years, Gap, but the brilliant Uniqlo has been snapping at your heels for years and it seems you didn’t notice…

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