To receive the Vogue Business newsletter, sign up here.
On February 5, just before New York Fashion Week, Gap Inc announced its new executive vice president and creative director, American designer Zac Posen. Posen will be the first to oversee the design of Gap Inc’s four brands: Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and Old Navy, where he will also take on the additional role of creative director. Posen will work closely with Gap Inc Chairman and CEO Richard Dickson, who was appointed to the role in July 2023, as “cultural curator and creative partner.” At Old Navy, he will report to Horacio Barbeito, brand president and CEO of Old Navy, and will lead design, merchandising and marketing.
“Gap Inc and its brands have shaped American fashion and pop culture for decades and there is a lot of potential at Old Navy,” Posen, who is moving to San Francisco for the position, said in the release. “I look forward to joining Gap Inc as the brand’s revitalization begins across the portfolio, rooted in great products, experiences and a new culture of creativity.”
“I am thrilled to welcome Zac Posen, one of America’s most celebrated designers, to the start of an exciting new chapter for Gap Inc,” Dickson said in a statement. “His technical expertise and cultural clarity have constantly evolved American fashion, making him an excellent fit for the company as we usher in a new culture of creativity across the portfolio and revitalize our heritage brands.”
Why does that matter?
It is the first time the US retailer has had a designer overseeing all of its brands, and is the highest-profile designer appointment for the company in years. Other notable names to have passed through Gap Inc’s doors include Patrick Robinson and Rebekka Bay for Gap, Simon Kneen and Marissa Webb for Banana Republic, and Todd Oldham for Old Navy.
Posen intervenes at a critical moment for Gap. The company has been through a crisis in recent years, as it struggles to maintain relevance comparable to its glory days in the 1990s. The company is considering a rebrand, a goal he made clear when he hired Mattel executive Dickson in the wake of his success story with Barbie. Dickson replaced former CEO Sonia Syngal, who stepped down in 2022. “His experience as a proven transformational brand builder and his belief in the power of inclusion make him the perfect fit for Gap Inc,” the director said at the time. interim executive Bobby Martin. These are the first days; In November’s third-quarter earnings, revenue fell 7 percent year over year to $3.8 billion.
Dickson has been taking steps to reorganize Gap’s leadership team, starting last month with the new appointments of Eric Chan, who joined as chief business and strategy officer, and Amy Thompson as chief people officer. Posen’s appointment is his most striking move yet.