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Thursday
Nov202014

Gap Inc. elevates two proven executives

Today, we announced that two Gap Inc. executives, with 35 years of combined company experience between them, will take the helm of Gap and Banana Republic.

Jeff Kirwan will become Global President for Gap brand in December; Andi Owen will become Global President for Banana Republic effective January 5.

Kirwan has reported to current CEO and Chairman Glenn Murphy for the past three years as president of greater China for Gap Inc. Under his leadership in China, Gap has grown in China digitally and physically – between launching an aggressive e-commerce strategy while also opening 100 stores in the region in just four years. In prior roles, Kirwan has driven growth, retail operations and brand development at Gap and Old Navy.

Owen, who currently leads the Gap Outlet division, has been with the company for nearly 25 years, tackling leadership roles within merchandising, online and stores. She spent 19 years working within Banana Republic, rising from management positions in the field to successfully leading the Banana Republic Factory Store business before taking on her current assignment as EVP of Global Gap Outlet. 

The promotions were orchestrated by incoming CEO Art Peck, as he prepares to take on the role of Chief Executive Officer of Gap Inc. in February, with the full support of current Chairman and CEO Glenn Murphy.

“We’ll start 2015 with a management team comprised of both established executives and the next generation of brand leaders ready for the next generation of customers,” said Peck.  “We’ve provided a transition period that allows our teams to deliver a successful holiday, while gearing up for a future where great product showcased seamlessly across physical and digital experiences consistently delights our customers.”

Wednesday
Nov192014

Incoming CEO Art Peck on the future of fashion

“The most exciting time to be in a business in terms of opportunity is when there’s disruption.”

Incoming Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck, chatted with Buzzfeed this week on everything from how the smartphone is the future of fashion and the desk is dead. Here are a few highlights:

Now’s the perfect time to be in fashion. Art said he believes the smartphone and e-commerce are responsible for the industry’s most radical change since the boom of the big-box retailers in the 1950s and ‘60s.

“The collision of digital and physical that [is] going to really redefine the whole customer experience,” Art said. “It’s really going to come down to having the capacity as a company to try different things, to throw some stuff at the wall.”

Product comes first. If a customer doesn’t like a sweater, it doesn’t matter if they can order it online, in store or on a smartphone. The phone “is an enabler but it has to sit on a foundation of consistently great product across all of our brands,” he said.

Inspiration is everywhere. Art said he is constantly looking at customer behavior and new ways to fuse digital and the in-store experience. So he draws ideas from “museums … adapting to the digital age and experiences like a recent meal he ordered and paid for via tablet at a pho restaurant in San Francisco’s East Bay.”

No desk, no problem. “The desk, I think is a residual symbol of power that I don’t feel is really useful in my workplace because it’s a way of putting a barrier between yourself and another person in a lot of respects,” Art said.

Read the full article on Buzzfeed.

Monday
Nov172014

Truck "knitbombers" get cozy at Old Navy

Sister knitters Lorna and Jill Watt spent 140 hours using “every fiber art tool known to man” (bobby pins, thumb tacks, lazy Susans, and college ruled notebooks, included) to create their most ambitious yarnbomb to date: a 1950 Chevy truck at Old Navy’s flagship store in San Francisco.

“We pushed the limits of all our skills to make it perfect and amazing,” Lorna Watt noted on her Knits for Life site. “We are so proud of this project.”

It took 250 feet of Velcro, 30 skeins of Caron One Pound yarn (one skein makes four full-sized scarves), 140 hours of labor– the sisters spent 35 hours on design, 45 hours on construction, and 60 hours on installation– plus four graveyard shifts, to swaddle the 1950 Chevy pickup– known back in the day as “Half-Ton”– in a festive red and white snowflake-pattern knit “sweater.”

One grueling part of the yarnbomb involved programming color work into a computerized bulky knitting machine. “Imagine us sitting for hours, entering those gigantic snowflakes,” Lorna recalled. “Not to mention getting Gothic font right!”

The Old Navy 1950 Chevy Truck knitbomb is around through January.

Next for the sisters Watt: a Manhattan project. Lorna and Jill’s newest holiday yarnbomb will go up at Old Navy’s flagship New York City store on November 20.  “Let’s find out what yarn can do,” says Lorna.

Monday
Nov172014

Keep calm, shop on

The holiday season is obviously about friends, family, fun and festivities. 

Of course, it’s also about crowds, chaos, and the pressure to find that perfect gift for loved ones.

The last thing I need is to be harried about whether or not I’m going to find that Bombastic Jacket from Athleta my sister-in-law is begging for.

So what’s my merry little trick this year? Right now it’s Gap Inc.’s Order in Store service. It’s another way to shop quickly and easily, ensuring I’ll never have to leave a participating store empty-handed.

Here’s how it works. I walk into an Old Navy store looking for a plaid flannel shirt from their Refinery 29 picks. Instead I find that they’re out of the clearly popular color I had in mind.  I find a sales associate, who simply pulls out a mobile device, scans a similar flannel and within moments finds the size and style I want. From there, she takes a credit card payment, places my order right on the device, and conveniently ships it to my apartment.

Order in Store joins Gap Inc.'s other great services that help me avoid the frenzied Christmas crush, like Find in Store, which allows me to go online and find out if the item I want is available in a store near me, or Reserve in Store, where I can reserve that item at participating stores with just a click of a button.

With Order in Store up and running in about 1,000 U.S. Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta stores, I can count on these brands to be in stock, for whatever I want, more often. What’s more, they can also tell me pricing and promotions info right from the device.

With everything else we’re juggling during this crazy season, being able to order that Crazy Stripe Gap sweater anytime and anywhere for that family gathering will definitely make a difference for my time and sanity. Happy shopping, everyone!

Friday
Nov142014

Marissa Webb – New York City’s next ambassador?

We know all about Marissa Webb’s clothes. But did we know that one of her prized possessions is a shark jaw (as in the jaw of a shark)? Or that she was adopted when she was four years old, and raised in Pennsylvania?

This New York Times “What I Love” column on the Banana Republic creative director tells us a little about Marissa the person, if not Marissa the designer. Which we love.

“I came from working in a grocery store in middle school and paying my own way through college,” Marissa says in the story.

During college (she graduated from F.I.T. in 1998), she lived on Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and ramen noodles, “because back then they cost four for a dollar. My parents had no extra money to help me out.”

Want to know who Molly and Troy are? Or why she keeps buying couches? Check out the story here.