Abercrombie & Fitch Hires New Women's Designer from Karl Lagerfeld

The struggling retailer has rebuilt its design team as it looks towards a turnaround.
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Chantal Fernandez
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The struggling retailer has rebuilt its design team as it looks towards a turnaround.
Abercrombie & Fitch fall lookbook. Photo: Abercrombie.com

Abercrombie & Fitch fall lookbook. Photo: Abercrombie.com

When Abercrombie & Fitch announced several new hires in June, it was still looking to fill the important role of head designer for A&F Women's. On Tuesday, the retailer confirmed that the search was over: Kristina Szasz — most recently design director for denim at both Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld (Tommy parent company PVH has a minority stake in Karl Lagerfeld) — will take on the role starting in September. 

According to an interview with LA Fashion in 2014, Szasz studied fashion design in Italy and her first job was as Emilio Pucci's last assistant before his death in 1992. Since then, she has held senior positions at Polo Ralph Lauren, Iceberg Jeans, Nike, Levi's and VF Apparel, almost exclusively in Europe, before joining PVH where she worked closely with Lagerfeld himself.

In addition to Szasz, Abercrombie poached two more senior staffers from competing retailers. Monica Margerum left Kohl's for her new role as head of planning operations for A&F and abercrombie kids. Amy Sveda comes from children's retail company Carter's and will be the general manager for abercrombie kids. A&F Womens also has a new general manager, Stacie Beaver, who has already worked at the company for 15 years in various roles.

All told the retailer has made eight senior hires this year — including former Club Monaco men's designer Aaron Levine as head of men's design and former Lucky Creative Director Katia Kuethe as creative director of marketing — in an effort to reinvigorate the struggling business. Abercrombie saw sales slump 8 percent to $709 million in the first quarter of 2015. Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez said in May, "Customer perception will only change when we improve the product lines and product assortment." It looks like the company finally has the team in place to make that happen.