Gap Inc., continuing its aggressive hunt for talent, has pumped up its ranks with two seasoned executives on the creative and product sides of the business, WWD has learned.
Jill Stanton has been named creative adviser for Old Navy, a new post, and Liz Meltzer has become senior vice president of Gap International merchandising. The appointments follow the recent announcement that Tracy Gardner, former Gap and Banana Republic merchandiser and former J. Crew president, is working at Gap’s Global Creative Center in New York as a consultant to help improve the product and help turn around the sagging women’s business.
“Boosting our already-strong creative talent is a key focus in 2012,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer of Gap Inc.
Stanton has more than 25 years’ experience in apparel retail, at Next, Marks & Spencer and more than a decade at Nike, where she ultimately served as vice president of global apparel, responsible for the strategic direction of all functional areas associated with product development, design and production.
Meltzer will oversee Gap’s international merchandising in Asia, Europe and other key regions outside of North America as a member of the Gap Global Creative Center. She has more than 20 years of product experience, including serving as Uniqlo’s senior vice president of merchandising for the U.S. and Europe, and holding senior merchandising slots at J. Crew and Calvin Klein.
The $14.5 billion Gap continues to search for a replacement for a head of Gap Adult design, previously held by Patrick Robinson, who was involved in a broad spectrum of categories until being ousted last year.
Meanwhile, Gap is partnering with Threadless, often described as the poster child for crowdsourcing because of its use of online public votes to pick the T-shirts it sells, on 16 men’s and 10 women’s Ts retailing for $29.95 each with designs created by artists from across the globe. The designs, which feature vivid colors and playful graphics, are meant to suit Gap’s “Be Bright” theme for spring.
“We’ve always admired Threadless’ democratic approach in sourcing ideas from its community and then letting the community vote for the designs they want to wear,” said Art Peck, president of Gap North America. “We share the same belief that great ideas can come from anywhere, and we can’t wait to give artists another way to get their designs out into the world by selling them in our stores.”
The partnership with Gap reflects Threadless’ strategy to work more with other companies. Before Gap, Threadless teamed up with Disney Consumer Products, Thermos and Dell, for example.
The first Gap + Threadless collection will be available starting Monday at select Gap stores and at gap.com. Artists will have an opportunity to submit designs for new Gap + Threadless styles from Monday to March 19, and designs will be voted on from March 20 to 26.