In early August, model Gigi Hadid teased her latest endeavor on social media: her debut fashion label Guest in Residence. Behind-the-scenes images of Hadid’s design process sparked instant internet buzz; on Monday, Hadid followed up with a pre-launch Instagram post that reads:
“We are Guest(s) in Residence of the clothes we own — they have had a life before us, and hopefully, if we take care of them, a life after us. We are guests in residence of our physical bodies, of the homes we live in, and of this planet. A ‘Guest in Residence,’ to me, is also someone who is at home in themselves — I thought about my favorite kinds of people…the ones that make an effort to show up at any door, land in any country, sit down at any table, with a sense of comfort, and a wonder for the people in front of them and the world around them. With all of this in mind, we have created pieces for you to take on life with — from the most vivid adventures, to the most quiet moments. Launching 9am EST — tomorrow @GuestinResidence 100% cashmere.”
Today, Hadid — a self-described “lover of all things cozy” — is debuting her knitwear label of 100 percent cashmere fashions exclusively on Guest in Residence’s website.
Prior to the launch, Hadid spoke to WWD about Guest in Residence’s debut collection, which is made up of 21 core styles in myriad colorways (totaling 114 pieces total) and priced $95 to $795, with a majority of the collection sitting between $195 and $395. Guest in Residence’s cashmere is sourced in inner Mongolia and manufactured in China.
Here, Hadid chats with WWD about Guest in Residence’s launch and becoming a founder and creative director.
WWD: First up, where and when did Guest in Residence begin?
Gigi Hadid: For years, I’ve been wanting and understanding that the next step in my career is to create and put out something of my own. I’ve gotten my feet wet in a lot of different types of design through my collaborations, so it felt like a natural progression — but I never wanted to force it because I got an offer or a deal. I think the ones I did get felt like something I would be forcing myself into rather than waiting for something that felt genuine to come to my mind.
Over the years, I thought about what kind of product I would want to put into the world, where I don’t feel it’s wasteful or something that is so overproduced right now that no one needs.…There was a time I thought about cashmere and wanted to understand the market — why a sweater that’s marketed as 100 percent cashmere can be sold at $3,000 and also at $90. I never understood that and wanted to learn. Right before COVID-19, I was in Milan and went to different cashmere houses to try to understand why they sat in the market where they did. I decided that there was a niche for me, which was to offer this luxury item that I feel has a history of being made exclusive from this price point, and bring it to a place where everyone deserves a luxury item, everyone deserves a sustainable material that if they take care of can last decades and pass down — really try to encourage people to invest in their wardrobe and not be wasteful.
G.H.: I got so lucky that I could learn from some of the best brands. Not just on the fashion and creative side, but some of the best companies in the world — to have their infrastructure as kind of this “baby crib” that they held me in while I got to be creative. There’s so much through the process you learn, whether it’s time management, or confidence in leading a team and putting your ideas out there and brainstorming together. I worked with so many kinds of people, which is great about modeling generally. We’re put in front of a completely new crew every day and the ability to adapt between those teams is something that’s a really good life skill. I always say, “If you pay attention, look around and listen, you can learn wild things, beyond modeling, in this job.”
WWD: When you’re designing, what’s your process? You’ve mentioned everyday luxury — any specific muses and inspiration?
G.H.: Generally, whether it was for this or anything else, my creative process really starts with closing my eyes and imagining the world where this customer or person lives, what they do, how many different kinds of people can be in these garments — all the possibilities of where clothes take us. I try to really close my eyes and think about someone going through their day, what they need and what I need and my family and friends need. That goes more into our collections that will drop later in the year that are more creative-direction focused, with a character or concept, but for this core collection we drop first, this is our signature collection of pieces that will live year-round. They’ll be offered in different colors and weights seasonally, but these are our year-round pieces, our signature shapes: sweats, our signature hoodie, crewnecks, cardigan, unisex cardigan, robe, hats…stuff like that.
But it still takes on the same creative process where I think about myself on a daily basis — through the seasons, through the season changes, what’s useful for people and then just try to make it something that is high quality and simple enough that hundreds of people really can put this on and completely find their own style in it.
WWD: I was originally going to ask, “How would you describe the Guest in Residence customer,” but it sounds like it’s geared for everyone and anyone.
G.H.: Yes, our first campaign is called “The Yearbook,” which is 100 people ages [newborn] to 100 all styled in our core collection, but based off their own personality and style. That’s what I wanted to show. If you invest in a beautiful, simple, high-quality piece, it can last you a lifetime and you can also pass it down to family and friends of any age — they can find themselves in these pieces by styling it to their own personality. That’s important to me, so I think we really celebrate that in our first campaign.
WWD: So this line will include childrenswear?
G.H.: So actually, for this first campaign, the kids are styled in the adult core collection, which is hilarious. It’s fun. You know, in my head, we’re already designing into next year and children’s is definitely something we have on the horizon.
WWD: Regarding the people you’re featuring in the campaign — is it friends, hired models, a mix?
G.H.: It’s a mix of people — some I know, some are street casted.
WWD: I know you teased working with Gabriella [Karefa-Johnson, stylist and creative consultant] and CJ Kim [design director; previously at The Row] — can you talk to me about collaborating with people you love in the industry on this line?
G.H.: I’ve been in this industry for a decade now and I always say that the most beautiful, important parts have been the in-betweens of the pictures people see go out. The memories we create, the relationships that we build through these collaborations.
Gabby is someone who started when she was an assistant at Vogue — it was my first Vogue story and we became fast friends on set. I’ve seen her star rise, really, and now she’s a global editor and such a powerhouse in her own sense. Rosella [Raffi, vice president of brand marketing and communications; previously senior director celebrity and influencer marketing], who’s on our team, I worked with at Tommy — she was there for all four of my seasons. Kevin [McIntoch Jr., founder or KMJR.World Consulting agency, working in tandem on press, strategy and seeding] is one of my great friends who I met through Virgil [Abloh] – well, actually, we probably met before that, but became close and is someone I cherish very much. CJ: we just met when I was doing meetings to hire someone for head of design — but is someone who I clicked with right away and I respect her past work so much.
All of these people and this team I’ve gotten to build is very special to me because I am able to ask them to come on this journey with me, and they mean a lot to me. I respect them and feel very lucky to work with them. It’s nice to be able to have this space where I can bring a lot of people together — who I knew would love each other. You get them all in one office space together and it’s like, “This is heaven.” It’s the best.
WWD: Jumping back into what you were saying about special moments: with fashion month approaching, how are you looking forward to those special moments at the shows while balancing all of your roles?
G.H.: There are seasons where you have to prioritize some things over others and this season that’s going to be launch week for me. This is my new role and is what I have to focus on, but I will be doing shows here and there.
I’m excited to welcome so many to New York for fashion week and send so many of my friends in this cashmere finally. It’s going to be amazing to see people in it — I’m emotional about it honestly.
WWD: What are celebration plans for launch day?
G.H.: We’re just going to have a big team brunch slash lunch on the day of, and once we can step away from our desks, I want to have a nice time to get together. We’re just taking it day by day and doing our best.
WWD: Separate question — as a model and a mother, would you ever want for or envision your daughter to be a model?
G.H.: I want her to be whatever she wants to be. She has two parents who are really interested in lots of different things and she will also have her own interests, so I’m just excited to see what she wants to do.
WWD: Speaking to that, how do you see your multifaceted roles expand as the years go on?
G.H.: This is such a new chapter for me. I’m just trying to enjoy and appreciate this time and not rush myself into what’s next too quickly. If I keep being creative and surrounding myself by people who inspire me, that comes naturally. I try not to put too much pressure on myself or I feel a bit like things with work start to get less genuine. I want to do things I really enjoy and believe in, and that’s when my audience and customers can see that and it translates.
WWD: Last question: the launch in and of itself is huge, but are there any pieces within the line you can’t wait to wear out in public?
G.H.: O-M-G every time I leave the office I ask someone if I’m allowed to wear a sweater out and it’s always “No, put it down. Take it off.” Thankfully that will change this week. I’m being patient and deserve what’s coming, but I’m excited to wear everything.
Now since it’s the end of summer, I’m really into our Stealth cardigan, which was the first piece I was really obsessed with making. It’s a really cute cropped cardigan with one hook-and-eye in the middle so you can wear it as a top or open. It’s called the Stealth cardigan because it can take us into winter the a sense that — you know when you go out and you maybe have a little dress on and want to wear a cute little cute leather jacket, but it’s a little bit too cold for that — but you don’t want to wear a huge sweater or a huge coat? This Sealth Cardigan was made in a shape that you can hide under any jacket and it just adds this layer of warmth without necessarily making you look like you have a bulky sweater underneath something. It’s also the size where you can roll it up in your bag and take it to a Broadway show. It’s just a good transitional season piece and i’m always cold on summer nights anyway, I always have a sweater with me — so that right now.
Also the unisex cardigan I’ve been wearing a lot in private — and the crewneck. I’ve been wearing a lot too, I love the unisex crewneck.