Chris Cox is sailing off into the sunset.
On Friday, Cox resigned as vice president of design and creative for Nautica, effective immediately, and the brand named Steve McSween to the new role of vice president of global design for men’s. McSween, a 20-year veteran of LF USA, Gap and Club Monaco, starts today.
McSween will oversee the global men’s sportswear and sleepwear businesses as well as all men’s licensed categories and will work closely with Chris Jackson, vice president of global design for women’s, who joined the company last year. McSween’s first collection will be for spring 2016.
McSween and Jackson will report to Trudi Roach, the brand’s newly named vice president of global product development.
Karen Murray, president of VF’s Sportswear Coalition, which oversees Nautica, told WWD that Nautica is “going through an extensive consumer segmentation [project] and we’re learning so much about our consumer and our brand. We have identified our target and now are in the midst of a repositioning.”
Murray said by early next year, Nautica will be ready to lay out its game plan to grow the label nationally and internationally. She said the brand’s elevated Black Sail collection “has a place in the future evolution of the brand,” but declined to provide more detail at this point. Nautica had showed Black Sail on the runway during New York Fashion Week, but took a break last season.
Cox joined Nautica in 2008 as vice president of men’s design and was promoted nine months later to vice president of design and creative. In addition to the flagship Nautica sportswear line, he also designed Black Sail. Before joining Nautica, Cox was creative director and senior vice president of design for Victorinox Swiss Army for two years and had been with Tommy Hilfiger for nine years. He has also worked for Banana Republic and Graj & Gustavsen.
Murray, who recruited Cox to Nautica, said she has “tremendous respect for him and his talent. He contributed greatly to building the Nautica brand over the past six years.”
Cox could not be reached for comment Friday on his plans.
McSween had been vice president of men’s design for LF USA for nearly seven years. Before that, he held the same role at Gap Inc. for six years and was director of men’s design for Club Monaco for five years.
Murray said McSween has a “great aesthetic and a consumer-centric mind-set and will play an important role in integrating our consumer insight and brand-positioning work into the development and execution of innovative, desirable product.”