There is life after Barneys. Judy Collinson, the former top women’s merchant at Barneys New York, has become executive director of women’s apparel at Anthropologie.
This story first appeared in the March 21, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“She’s just an innovative, world-class merchant with an unparalleled taste level,” said Glen T. Senk, chief executive officer of the Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters Inc., confirming Collinson’s new job. Urban Outfitters operates Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Leifsdottir and Terrain.
Senk described Collinson’s role as “a little different from a traditional general merchandise manager,” explaining, “The focus is more on the product itself, so design reports into her. She is responsible for every product in the overall women’s assortment including market products and products developed by Anthropologie.” Senk added that Collinson is not handling accessories right now.
“She will be fantastic. There is a lot for her to learn. Anthropologie is a very different business from Barneys,” Senk said. “But to have somebody with decades of experience and passion is just going to be fantastic for the company and the customers. Judy is a fast learner, and at the end of the day we always try to buy product and design product that we love. We have a saying at the company, ‘We design up to the customer.’”
Collinson reports to Wendy Wurtzburger, co-president and chief merchandising officer of Anthropologie. Collinson worked at Barneys for 20 years, last serving as executive vice president and gmm until last fall when she got pushed out as part of ceo Mark Lee’s strategy of remaking the team.
Collinson’s experience and style would seem a good fit for Anthropologie, where, like Barneys, products are both designed and shopped from the markets. At Barneys, she was a force behind the development of the Barneys New York private collection, but was also an advocate for small artisans and unknown designers. Collinson quietly started working at Anthropologie last month without any announcement. Senk is looking for Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie to gain greater fashion momentum this year after a fourth quarter net income decline.
In other Anthropologie changes, Aaron Hoey was promoted to general merchandise manager of home furnishings, women’s accessories and shoes, including responsibilities for the new concept Anthropologie Accessories and Shoes stores. The first was opened in October in Chevy Chase, Md.; the second will open in Nashville on Friday, and the third will open in Suburban Square, Pa. in the third quarter. Hoey was divisional merchandise manager. Kit Lee-Perry, gmm of women’s at Anthropologie, left the company recently to join Kate Spade.