Gap Inc. named Simon Kneen executive vice president of design and creative director for Banana Republic.


Kneen joins the division on Jan. 9 and will set the product direction for Banana Republic apparel and accessories, as well as set the overall creative direction for the brand.


For the past five years, Kneen was creative design director for Retail Brand Alliance, owner of Brooks Brothers. He was part of the leadership team that helped reposition the brand back to its roots, under the overall direction of chief executive officer Claudio del Vecchio. While at the Retail Brand Alliance, he was also responsible for designing the collections under the Casual Corner label from 2003 until 2005, before the brand was discontinued.


From 2001 to 2003, Kneen was creative director for Maska, an Italian fashion house. Prior to that, he designed at Maison Balmain, based in Paris, and had his own design firm producing the Simon Kneen Collection, a line of suiting, separate, knitwear and accessories sold through luxury apparel retailers in Italy.


“Simon has a tremendous ability to creatively guide a brand, experience delivering a consistent aesthetic across all expressions of the brand, and a proven track record of fostering strong creative teams,” said Jack Calhoun, president of Banana Republic, in a statement. “After talking with dozens of fantastic candidates, it’s clear that Simon is a great fit for Banana Republic.”


For more, see Friday’s issue of WWD.

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