by John Russel Jones

Inspiring, inclusive, and packed with joy, GapKids Fall campaign reminds us that life is brighter when everyone belongs, and everyone has a chance to shine. Just ahead of the back-to-school season, Gap celebrates belonging with newly released creative inspired by the children’s book of the same name, Everyone Belongs, by Heather Avis. The campaign features a wide range of real kids of all abilities and special talents, including those of Avis’s own children with Down syndrome.

Avis, a mother, founder of The Lucky Few Foundation, a national Down syndrome advocacy organization, New York Times bestselling author, and unyielding narrative shifter, has dedicated herself to creating a more inclusive world. With this release of her second book, Everyone Belongs, Avis creates the perfect backdrop for Gap’s latest GapKids campaign, taking inspiration from the book and showcasing a diverse group of kids who make the world brighter by sharing their individuality.

Concepted by Gap Creative Director, Len Peltier, shot by Jack O’Connor and directed by Lauren Sick, the cast of kids showcase their individual styles and the joy they feel from being who they are and doing what they love. Styled in organic loose denim, khaki, pocket tees, dresses, varsity jackets, and more, modern prep shines in GapKids Fall Icons.

“Celebrating individuality has always been iconic to Gap brand,” says Mary Alderete, global head of Gap marketing. “Back-to-school is the right time to bring this message of belonging to the forefront and reinforce that there is no greater joy than being your true self. ‘EVERYONE BELONGS’ shares an important message for kids and adults alike, and we are excited to continue to encourage individuality, acceptance, and the joy we feel when we embrace our unique selves.”

The “EVERYONE BELONGS” GapKids campaign cast includes 13-year-old Adrina Castro who can be found playing basketball, making silly videos with her sister, staying fit and spreading positivity—all from her wheelchair; Four-year-old Beauden Baumkirchner — a septic shock survivor — who, with two prosthetic legs, enjoys biking, quad riding, swimming, and knee boarding; Six-year-old Brody Schaffer gained a big following on social media for his loveable personality and many talents. Brody can sing, dance, play piano, and more. Everyone Belongs author Avis’s three children, Macy, Truly, and August, are her inspiration for social awareness and acceptance. This is the third time the Avis children are featured in a GapKids campaign, amplifying their incredible journeys.

Beyond the campaign, GapKids is hosting its first-ever digital talent show, encouraging kids across the country to participate and show off their very own talents and skills. There will be a call-to-action for families to upload videos of kids performing their talents to social media, using the hashtag #GapKidsBelong, with a range of participants highlighted on future GapKids channels and campaigns.

And, to further celebrate belonging, Gap is turning the page on educational barriers by donating 20K brand new copies of Everyone Belongs to schools in need via First Book, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing learning materials to underprivileged classrooms.

Gap’s “EVERYONE BELONGS” campaign debuts on July 27, 2022, across GapKids channels, television, and digital. Follow along on @gapkids to see #GapKidsBelong content go live throughout the coming months.