In a surprise move, Creative Director for the brand Marissa Webb stepped down after only a year and a half in the position. The brand appointed Webb as their creative director in April of 2014.
The brand has been suffering greatly in recent months, an 11% drop in sales was recorded for August (BOF). Ms. Webb was the creative director and executive vice president, but she also has her own collection, which will continue to be sold through The Gap Inc.’s chain Intermix. Although she will no longer be the creative director, Webb will stay on as an advisor for the brand. According to WWD, The Global Brand President, Andi Owen, sounded very positive as he spoke about the change in status:
“Marissa has brought incredible passion and leadership to Banana Republic over the last year and a half. I admire her talent and tenacity and the creative spirit that she’s infused within our brand, all while further establishing her private label, With a very strong product team in place at Banana Republic, this is the right time to evolve her role. We’ll continue to support Marissa and her success in the future” (WWD).
The most interesting part of this change is that no one will be succeeding Webb as creative director. Going without a creative director is a growing trend in the industry now that fast fashion has become the driving influence in sales. Brand’s like Zara and H&M have been raking in revenue over the past few years. Brands are relying less on the influence of creative directors, and more on trend analysis.
As I reported last week, another executive at The Gap Inc., Stefan Larsson, also left his position as Old Navy’s global brand president to become the CEO of Ralph Lauren. All of these changes at the company will make it very interesting to see which of the brands under The Gap Inc. will come out as the head in future sales.