Is Banana Republic Getting A J.Crew-Style Makeover?

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mw embedPhoto: Courtesy of Banana Republic.
Shopping for your work wear is about to get a whole lot more interesting. Banana Republic announced yesterday that fashion designer Marissa Webb will be joining the company as creative director and executive vice president of design. In that role, she'll guide the brand’s creative direction and lead global product design for Banana Republic's women’s, men’s, and accessories lines.

If that name sounds familiar, it's because Webb has an eponymous fashion line, known for its cool, graphic separates. But, her fashion résumé doesn't start there. Prior to her launch, Webb joined J.Crew in 2000 and spent 11 years there eventually serving as head of women’s and accessories design. In industry circles, she is credited right alongside Jenna Lyons and Mickey Drexler for bringing a modern, sophisticated sensibility, and a more fashion-forward clientele, to J.Crew — so, needless to say, she could be a major get for Banana Republic.

In a statement, BR's global president (and Webb's new boss), Jack Calhoun, stated, “What [Webb] 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.”

Fans of Webb's own brand need not fret over the news. Banana's parent company, Gap, Inc., announced that it will become a minority investor in the Marissa Webb label, now carried at over 30 stores worldwide. BR's statement further promised to work with Webb "in the growth and development of her business." So, we get a fresh, new perspective at Banana — perhaps still better known as the go-to place for an interview suit than a total style transformation — and we get to keep one of our favorite upstart labels, too. That's a partnership we can get behind.

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