Mega-brand Banana Republic has hired Marissa Webb, a former womenswear designer at J. Crew, as its new creative director and executive vice president of design.
In addition to overseeing the brand’s creative direction, she will lead global product design for Banana Republic Women’s, Men’s and Accessories, according to parent company Gap Inc., which made the announcement last month.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the extremely passionate, talented design and creative teams at Banana Republic,” Webb said in a press statement. “This is an amazing opportunity for me to combine my unique vision with a brand that has such a strong legacy.”
Webb replaces Simon Kneen, who was in charge of the store’s design department from 2009 to 2013, during which time the retailer lost ground to competitors J. Crew, H&M and others. Gap Inc. said that in its financial reports released in April that the retailer’s sales declined by 4 percent from the year before.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Webb was adopted by an American family from Korea at age 4. She also previously worked for Polo and Club Monaco. In 2011, she launched her own eponymous label, a casual contemporary clothing line that is sold at more than 30 retailers, including Barneys New York. Gap Inc. also announced that it intends to invest in the Marissa Webb label, and that Banana Republic Global President Jack Calhoun will work with Webb as a strategic partner in the growth of her business.
“I am so excited for Marissa to bring her own special touch to the brand,” said Calhoun. “What she delivers today is so fresh and relevant, I know her design sensibility will move Banana Republic forward in our effort to deliver modern American style.”
Webb’s first collection for Banana Republic is expected in the summer of 2015.