Simon Kneen leaving Banana Republic

Monday, 07 October 2013
Gap-owned fashion brand Banana Republic has announced that Simon Kneen, executive vice president of design and creative director at the label, will be stepping down from his role at the end of the year. Kneen, who has been in the position since January 2008, and who is best known for bringing designer collaborations including Issa and L’Wren Scott into the Banana Republic fold, will leave the brand on December 31.

In a statement Jack Calhoun, Banana Republic’s global brand president said: “In the last five years with the brand, Simon has led with passion, creativity and a thoughtful approach to designing modern and versatile styles for professional men and women.

“As we compete to win on the global stage, now is the right time to make a change.”

Banana Republic creative director Simon Kneen steps down

The statement added that the brand is to begin its search for a new head of design and creative director immediately. Kneen will remain with the Banana Republic design team until the end of the year to manage the transition, and his last collection for the retailer will be summer 2014.

Julie Rosen, who has worked for Gap for the last 19 years, will continue in her role as EVP of Banana Republic North America, heading the merchandising and inventory management for the specialty business.

Last year Banana Republic enlisted designer Narciso Rodriguez in an advisory position to work alongside Kneen to help the retailer improve the brand’s fashion offering. The first pieces of Rodriguez and Kneen’s joint efforts have started rolling out in stores, and are aimed at a higher minded fashion customer.

The retailer’s next designer collaboration will launch worldwide on December 5 with a 50-piece limited edition collection designed by L’Wren Scott. The capsule line features pieces to “inspire glamorous holiday parties” and includes apparel and accessories for women, ranging from sequin party dresses and bejewelled cardigans, to feminine, tailored jeans, lace dresses and pencil skirts.

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