NEW YORK — In a move that further underscores The Jones Group’s strategy to boost its design ranks, the company tapped George Sharp for the newly created position of executive vice president of design.
Sharp’s role will extend to all brands within Jones’ portfolio, which include Brian Atwood, Rachel Roy, Kurt Geiger, Stuart Weitzman and Robert Rodriguez, as well as Jones New York, Nine West and Anne Klein.
Sharp just recently resigned from his role as creative director and executive vice president of design at St. John Knits. Before joining the Irvine, Calif.-based St. John, the English native was vice president of design at Ellen Tracy here. Prior to that, he worked at Escada and Rena Lange in Munich.
Asked what appealed to him about Jones, Sharp cited the potential of the apparel and nonapparel brands within the portfolio as well as Jones president and chief executive officer of branded business Richard Dickson and chief creative officer Stefani Greenfield. “They are both so dynamic and positive and I love the direction they bring to Jones,” he said.
Spearheaded by Dickson, Jones has embarked on a strategy to import talent that can help boost design innovation across the brands, and transform Jones from a category-centric to a brand-centric operation.
Sharp joins Jones’ fashion office, which the company established earlier this year with hires such as Wendy Hirschberg Clurman as Jones New York’s vice president and fashion director, Danielle de Marne as vice president and fashion director of designer and contemporary brands and Amanda Ross as Anne Klein’s consulting fashion director.
Greenfield, who joined Jones last fall with a strong merchandising background, said she was looking for talent to help her work with the design teams. “Design and merchandising go hand in hand,” she said, “So I needed my other hand.” She lauded Sharp’s “sophistication, creative energy and kindness,” and already has a specific project earmarked for him.
“We are launching two new brands next year that he is really going to spearhead,” she said, adding that Sharp will oversee the introductions from soup-to-nuts, including their conception through to the realization. He is expected to play an instrumental role in building the new labels’ teams, and oversee such areas as product development, fittings and execution. Greenfield declined to disclose many details on the new brands, other than to say that they are being developed with a retailer, and are slated to be unveiled for the second quarter of next year.
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