Marissa Webb named creative director at Banana Republic

Wednesday, 16 April 2014
American high street giant Banana Republic, which is owned by Gap Inc, has hired former J.Crew designer Marissa Webb as its new creative director and executive vice president of design. Webb, who has her own namesake casual contemporary label that is sold in stores such as Barneys New York, replaces Simon Kneen who left Banana Republic at the end of last year after five years in charge of the brand.

In her new role, Webb will be responsible for “guiding the brand’s overall creative direction”, as well as leading global product design for Banana Republic women’s, men’s, and accessories departments, while reporting to global president of Banana Republic, Jack Calhoun.

“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. I can’t wait to have her on board.”

Prior to branching out on her own in 2011, Webb spent time at Polo, Club Monaco and over a decade at J.Crew, where she served in various design roles, including head of womenswear and accessories design.

Banana Republic hires Marissa Webb

In addition to her newly appointed role at Banana Republic, Webb will retain her position as president and creative director at Marissa Webb, and Gap Inc. will become a minority investor in the line. Initially launched exclusively at Barneys New York, the Marissa Webb Collection is now available in over 30 stores globally, inclusive of select locations within Gap’s Intermix division, as well as online. To increase the growth and development of the label, Calhoun will work with Webb as a strategic partner.

“I'm thrilled to be joining the extremely passionate, talented design and creative teams at Banana Republic,” said Webb. “The brand has such a beautiful history which I truly admire. This is an amazing opportunity for me to combine my unique vision with a brand that has such a strong legacy. I'm excited to be joining Banana Republic and being able to make an impact for our modern customer.”

Banana Republic has struggled to resonate with its customers in recent years, with declining sales the retailer has lost ground to competitors including J.Crew, and it is hoped that Webb’s reign will inject new life into the brand. Webb’s eponymous line combines modern, downtown elements with a classic preppy aesthetic, which is loved by celebrities including Anna Kendrick and Alyssa Milano, so it will be interesting to see what she has in store for the retailer. Her first collection is expected in the summer of 2015.

The news come on the heels of Banana Republic's announcement that French designer Roland Mouret will be designing a limited-edition capsule collection for the retailer later this year, following its designer collaborations with L’Wren Scott and Issa London.

Image: Marissa Webb

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