The spring 2016 collection Marissa Webb showed for Banana Republic during New York Fashion Week in September will be her last for the Gap Inc.-owned retailer. WWD reports, and a rep for Banana Republic confirmed, that Webb is leaving her role as creative director, which she has held for a little over a year.
She's not leaving Banana Republic entirely, though: Rather, she's transitioning into a "creative adviser" role that won't involve all of the day-to-day responsibilities she had as creative director. Plus, Gap Inc. will continue to support Webb's namesake line through its minority investment in the brand. All in all, it sounds like a pretty good situation for Webb, who recently told us she regularly works on weekends in order to balance both jobs.
Interestingly, Banana Republic will not be filling the creative director role at all, just as Gap chose not to fill the same role after it ousted Rebecca Bay in January. "With a very strong product team in place at Banana Republic, this is the right time to evolve her role," said Andi Owen, Banana's global brand president in a statement provided to WWD. "We'll continue to support Marissa and her success in the future."
Just as Gap's decision followed a period of declining (or, at least, not improving) sales at the brand, Webb's designs for Banana Republic failed to resonate with customers in the short time she's held the job. After her first collection hit stores this April, sales slumped 15 percent that month, and they continued to decline throughout the first and second quarters of the year. Gap's sales haven't improved significantly either since eliminating the creative director role (and subsequently hiring an executive to oversee design), but perhaps it's just a waiting game.