aDressed

The official blog of Gap Inc.

A Banana Republic Holiday Collection Made in L.A.

FashionLiz Nunan, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Thanks to a year-long partnership between Banana Republic and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, this holiday customers will have the opportunity to shop for a collection that not only supports an emerging, L.A.-based designer, but provides a special menswear capsule for unique and effortlessly cool pieces.

Starting December 6, customers in select stores can shop The Greg Lauren for Banana Republic menswear collection, which was created in close partnership with the Banana Republic design team and was designed, cut and sewn in Los Angeles. The capsule will include 16 pieces, which marry Lauren's iconic, utilitarian style with Banana Republic's classic American sportswear sensibility.

We asked Greg Lauren and Banana Republic's Michael Anderson a few questions about the collaboration, and this is what we learned:

aDressed_GregLauren_BR_bts3.jpg

BR's SVP of Design, Michael Anderson (left) and Fashion Designer Greg Lauren

How did this partnership come about?

Greg Lauren: The CFDA approached me to work with Banana Republic as the newest iteration of their ongoing partnership. The CFDA's mission of nurturing creative people is so important and I appreciate that an American heritage brand is supporting that mission.

I saw this as an amazing challenge and opportunity to bring a one-of-one production approach to a broader consumer base. Looking at how to take an artisanal brand and scale it is something I've been looking at in my own business, and this partnership was a great exercise in exploring that.

Michael Anderson: Working with CFDA allows us to support the fashion industry and creative talent. This program is a great way to help local American designers and manufacturers grow their businesses and broaden their visibility.

How and where are the pieces produced?

Greg Lauren: We spent a lot of time vetting to find just the right production partner for this project

We needed someone with the capabilities for scale but that would also be willing to spend time learning the specialty stitches and production techniques I use in my own business and that we wanted to use for this collection. The pieces are produced by TEG in Los Angeles.

What was it like working together on this collection?

Michael Anderson: It was a true collaboration and Greg was a great partner. We both learned a lot and worked outside our norms to create something very collaborative and unique. Greg shares the same passion for details and we had a great time marrying BR's signature style with his artistic approach. We are excited to bring this to our men's customer and see it as a great compliment to our current men's assortment of versatile, modern pieces.

Greg Lauren: We worked together every step of the way to execute a strong vision for the collection. We were able to stay true to the vision by keeping the collection tight and niche. I am really proud of the work we've done together and the product as a whole.

Gap’s Utility Jackets That Give Back

FashionLiz Nunan, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Today is World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the fight to end the AIDS pandemic and to mourning those we have lost to the disease. In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Gap's first (RED) collection and its role as the founding (RED) apparel partner, the brand is launching a collection of iconic Utility Jackets, each featuring custom designs by six of the most renowned female street artists from around the world. This talented group of women is known for their exciting, thought-provoking work and for creating awareness of contributions by women in the world of street art.

One of the women who created an original design for the Gap Utility Jacket line is international street artist and coloring book author, Kelsey Montague. Kelsey is known for her for intricate pen-and-ink drawings and a thriving social media campaign that transforms her interactive public murals into living works of art. We interviewed the artist to learn about how she got involved with the Gap project and the inspiration behind her design.

Photo of Kelsey Montague by Sinhe Xavier

Photo of Kelsey Montague by Sinhe Xavier

How did you get involved with the Gap (RED) project?

(RED) approached me about this incredible project and I was so very excited to do something that would support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.

I am so thrilled I'm able to contribute to this fund through my art. These are awful diseases and I am grateful to be able to contribute.

What was your inspiration for the design you created for the utility jacket? Do the feathers represent something?

My wings and feathers, to me, represent freedom and strength - freedom to rise above the troubles of our everyday life, but also the strength to face those issues that plague us. I believe that this collaboration with (RED) and Gap embodies the same spirit. This product is all about facing the issue of ending AIDS in our lifetime and rising above it by continuing to fight it in every way we can.

The red feather over the heart is designed to remind us of those we've lost in this battle.

How did you get your start as a street artist and an illustrator?

I have been an artist since I was born. Almost everyone on my mother's side was an artist. My grandfather was a watercolorist and he always put a bird in all of his paintings. It was a spiritual thing to him. I spent my childhood looking for those birds in his paintings. I know that influenced my love of wings and feathers.

I did my first large scale, street art mural a few years ago in NYC and I wanted to make it interactive because I want people to be able to step into a piece and become an actual piece of art.

Do you have a personal memory from the (RED) collection that debuted at Gap ten years ago?

I remember being impressed that (RED) was creating a way for everyone to contribute to AIDS by partnering with such amazing companies. It was innovative and powerful and still is.

I've really loved being a part of this collection ten years later and interpreting the spirit of this partnership onto clothing.

To learn more about (RED) and how Gap has partnered with the organization to fight against AIDS, click here.

Click here to shop the full Gap x (RED) collection.

Tips and tricks from a Gap Inc. photo studio stylist: How to create a holiday laydown

TalentKelly Flanagan and Brooke Ginnard, Gap Inc. bloggers1 Comment

Need to photograph a heavy coat floating in mid-air? Anjuli Martin can show you how.

The Berkeley, Calif., native is a stylist at Gap Inc.'s San Francisco photo studio — where teams of stylists, art directors and photographers capture imagery of product from Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta so that online shoppers can see how clothing fits and flows from every angle.

We took her out of the studio to talk pescatarian dishes, holiday traditions and teach us amateurs how to make our own living-room floor laydowns look effortless.

What are the challenges in photographing clothing for online shoppers leading into the holidays?

With the holidays, there's usually more clothing with a hint of sparkle, and capturing that sparkle can be a challenge — definitely more for the photographers. Stylists will assist with a little adjustment here and a little adjustment there to get the clothing to catch the light in the right way, so that the sparkle is visible.

Probably the biggest challenge, though, with holiday product is there are a lot more coats and other heavy items. We just recently switched from photographing our product on hangers: Now we're removing the hanger, but we're still photographing the product upright, so we're fighting gravity. With the big coats, it's kind of a trip.

How do you even do that — photograph a piece of clothing upright — without a hanger?

So you have the hanger in initially, and then you'll pin the coat in the shoulder area. We'll use a piece of fleece to create a little bit of structure in the shoulder, and we also have these 2D forms that we developed, with just a little bit of body.

Usually the fleece works well for kids and baby, and we'll use the forms for adult. And then you just pin — a lot!

What was the reasoning behind removing the hanger?

Without the hanger, the photo can be cropped tighter, so customers can get a little closer to the clothing.

We worked with the art direction team on testing photos with hangers, laydowns, and vertical without the hanger — which is where we landed. The team found that hangers could be distracting for viewers, so removing them allows the customer to fully focus on the details of the product.

Do you have any tips or tricks for people photographing their own holiday laydowns?

Have a focus. Whether you're creating a laydown for your blog or for Instagram, if people are ultimately going to be looking at your images on their phones, the screen size is so small — so having a clear message is helpful in terms of telling a story and drawing people in.

Given the limited amount of space, how important are props?

It depends on your message. If you're doing something around the holidays, you definitely want to bring that spirit and make it come alive for your audience. If you're just photographing one sweater, propping it with a few things — like a cup of cocoa — would bring that spirit to life.

But there's a fine line. Props can be really charming and cute, but there's also over-propping: Too many props can be overwhelming — especially in a small space.

Thinking about negative space and about how the eye moves through your image can be helpful in creating an image that really pops.

What's your favorite part about the holidays?

My family is always into the eating part of any Holiday.

Family and friends drop by throughout the day, and we enjoy hanging out and cooking together. We do non-traditional foods — we like to mix it up so it's not the same menu every year.

What's the most non-traditional dish your family has embraced for a holiday dinner?

Poke has become a tradition for Thanksgiving. I actually have no idea how it started… I think someone was craving it one year, and it was a hit, so we kept doing it. We actually might bring it back for Christmas this year.

Poke doesn't make any sense with anything else that's at our table. Last year, we had it next to the stuffing, goulash, and just an eclectic mix of things. Our table usually feels like a potluck, even though it's not. It's odd, but delicious.

Do you have any favorite holiday traditions?

Growing up, we had these glass bird ornaments on our tree. My mom and I still have this running tradition of gifting each other bird ornaments. It's always a hunt to find a great bird!

I also make my own Christmas cards. I love crafting, and make holiday prints with linoleum, speedy cut or wood printing blocks.

What's your gifting strategy?

My favorite presents are stocking stuffers. My family has one stocking for everyone, and we all contribute small little things that are thoughtful and funny.

I'll try and pick things up here and there when I see them throughout the year, or make mental notes. I like getting people gifts that are personal, but unexpected — something that reminds me of them, just because.

For more behind-the-scenes looks at Gap Inc. for holiday...

Get to know the team who styles Banana Republic’s covetable collections, and learn their styling tips and tricks for everyday and holiday looks.
 
Your favorite Old Navy floral? It was likely hand-painted by one of our in-house artists. Meet the ladies behind our prints.
 
Meet the woman who helps Gap create a happy, festive and seamless shopping experience for customers online and in stores… and learn about her family’s holiday tradition of chocolate meatballs.

Holiday fashion tips, from Banana Republic’s resident stylist duo

TalentKelly Flanagan and Brooke Ginnard, Gap Inc. bloggersComment

Want to stay cozy, but also look chic? Blair Williams and Myles Lett have you covered.

The senior manager of styling for Banana Republic and the associate stylist for stores and windows fashion looks for the brand's visual merchandising team, curated for BR customers. Whether taking a look from day to night, or staying in with friends, Blair and Myles want to inspire customers to get the most out of their purchases by having fun with fashion.

With versatility top of mind, the styling team showcases how different product pairings can create entirely new looks with the same pieces. For example, a women's suit jacket and pant may hang next to each other, but be paired with a ruffled blouse or distressed jean on a mannequin, for an entirely new outfit.

We sat down with Blair and Myles to talk holiday style tips, memorable bad outfits, and making the perfect wintry wreath.

What's your go-to holiday look?

Blair: I love being cozy and comfortable during the holidays, so chunky sweaters and turtlenecks are my favorite staples. I love layering and adding texture and dimension to a look by pairing a denim woven under a sweater or a striped tee. If I'm going to a dinner party, I usually dress up my jeans and sweaters with a statement earring and a leather bomber jacket.

Myles: I have a black pajama one-piece that is my absolute favorite. I wear it Thanksgiving and Christmas with a black beanie. It's my favorite because the only thing I have to pick out to wear is pants!

Do you have any go-to tips or tricks for translating a daytime outfit to a holiday dinner or party?

Blair: Definitely accessories! Jeans, flats and a cashmere sweater can be super dressed up by killer heels, a brooch and some leather or a long trench. People don't dress as traditionally as they used to — you don't have to wear a dress to a holiday party — so I'm all about being comfortable, but adding a little shine and luxury.

Myles: I usually wear one super polished item, like tuxedo pants. For daytime, I might pair it with a white button-up and cashmere sweater. To segue into night, I can throw on a tee-shirt and a beanie. Choose one polished high-end item that is also beautifully made and comfortable to wear and you're good to go.

How do you approach styling sweaters?

Blair: Banana has a lot of sweaters that are super versatile. The nice thing about sweaters — especially for holiday — is that there's a lot of layering that can go into them. This holiday, Banana has tons of sweaters in cashmere and luxurious fabrications that you can dress down with ripped jeans or pair with skirts, or even layer under a slip dress!

Myles: A crewneck merino sweater is so chic. It just looks so classic, on a man or a woman. The best part about sweaters is you can wear them under or on top. They can either be the focus of or an addition to any outfit. Versatility!

What's your favorite trend you're seeing this holiday?

Blair: I've been loving parkas with faux fur detailing for a little while now, but I'm really into the tension that you can create in a look by pairing a parka to a skirt or dress to make the look feel a little more modern and easy going.

Myles: Wide-leg pants! And more relaxed silhouettes. I love that the focus is no longer on skin-tight clothes. I think you can't be more chic than a basic tee and a wide-leg suit pant.

What do you love about the holidays?

Blair: I love that I don't have to do anything except stay inside and hang out with my family and my dog, Henri. I don't need to use my phone, I don't have my computer... I just hibernate.

My parents live right by the beach, so we get super wrapped up in our sweaters and scarves and walk to the beach with the dogs. I love that about Northern California — winters where you can still go to the beach, but it's really cold and windy with dramatic waves.

Myles: Family and friends. They are the most important to me. Having a time that is dedicated to spending time with your people and pets, who could ask for more? Also, who doesn't love to sleep in?

Do you have any memorable bad holiday outfits? (i.e. that ruffled monstrosity from when you were 4 years old?)

Blair: I don't necessarily have any specific outfits that come to mind, but every year when I was little, my dad made me pose for a picture with every gift I'd open. I'd get so excited and wake up while it was still dark out to open my gifts; so there's way too much documentation of me in my crazy pajamas with my hair poking out in every direction.

Myles: There is a photo of me in a Christmas sweater vest with gold buttons. In the photo I also have some sort of strange hair cut: short on top and a tiny ponytail in the back. I look so happy in it, though!

What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Blair: I love being crafty, so every year I help my mom design our table setting with flowers and candles, and we put together curated decorations with different themes. I'm not traditional when it comes to the holidays, so I love decorations to feel wintry and seasonal — not too Christmasy.

I also love Hot Toddies — they're my jam during the holidays.

Myles: The flowers! I love doing any form of flower arranging — from table centerpieces to door wreaths. Flowers have always made me so happy. I took a break from styling and was a florist for a while.

What's your gifting strategy? Do you have a go-to gift?

Blair: I love collecting gifts throughout the year when something reminds me of the person in my life. Nothing feels better than getting someone the perfect gift!

Myles: Homemade cards: Who doesn't love a heartfelt letter and drawing? Also, gift cards!

What's the best gift you've ever received?

Blair: When I was 10, I got my first puppy — which was the best gift ever.

Myles: My best friend Kate actually got me a pair of Patricia Field studded leather half-finger gloves — the same ones that Carrie Bradshaw wore on Sex and the City — and I was so happy. It was just the best. Katie knows me so well, but to get a gift that I had only dreamt of was over the top! It was also before I lived in NYC, so it represented something much bigger to me.

For more behind-the-scenes looks at Gap Inc. for holiday...

Meet the woman who makes fashion float for Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta. She shares her tips and tricks for styling for the perfect holiday photo. Learn her secrets.

Your favorite Old Navy floral? It was likely hand-painted by one of our in-house artists. Meet the ladies behind our prints.

Meet the woman who helps Gap create a happy, festive and seamless shopping experience for customers online and in stores… and learn about her family’s holiday tradition of chocolate meatballs.

How Gap Wants to Make Shopping Easier This Holiday: Meet the Woman Behind the Marketing

TalentCarlee Gomes and Kelly Flanagan, Gap Inc. bloggersComment

The folks at Gap want shopping to be a happy experience – something fun, with something for everyone – but more than that, they want shopping at Gap to be something that simplifies your life. And there's no better time for that than during the craziness of the holidays.

We sat down with Gena Inkeles from Gap's global marketing team to talk about how Gap is making things easier for customers in and out of the store. And because it's the holidays, we wanted to get to know her a bit more about how she spends her time outside of the office. We talked gift-giving, chocolate meatballs, and of course, outfit planning – the good the bad, and the comfy.

Let's talk about your role. Tell us about what you do.

The biggest part of what I do is bring to life product stories and merchandising strategies in a customer-facing way across all of our digital channels. That's all of the content on the website, content that goes into email and in digital marketing, and content that can be seen in store environments as well.

It's about really understanding what the product assortment is inside and out, what those merchandising strategies are, and how we turn all of that into something that the customer really cares about. What need is it meeting in their lives? Is it a versatility offering? Is it great quality of fabric? Is it the easiest thing she's going to put on in her day? We keep all of those things in mind as we bring these stories to life.

The other part of my job is really making sure we're constantly testing and learning about the way our customers shop online, in order to make the best online shopping experience possible. We are constantly learning from our customers every day.

When and how do you get to interact with product?

I'm in there right at the very early stages — sometimes even before the clothing is designed! But once pieces are designed, I'm out in New York, which is where our designers are. After they design each season, we go and see the product at the same time as the merchandising teams and the buyers so that we're all figuring out what stories we want to tell together, and how that impacts buying and investment in certain product.

Where are you getting inspiration for your stories?

I get stories from all over! A lot of it is inspired by who our customers are, and what's going on in their lives. We want to be helpful — make their lives easier — whether it's a packing list, the must-haves for the holiday season, or how to style a trend. I'm constantly motivated by the ways we can help our customer in that sense. Yes, we're selling clothes, but I also like to think that we're helping to simplify our customers' lives.

What's the Gap story this holiday?

Our story is all about “Sharing Your Gift.” Its inspired by individuality, optimism and elevating the everyday. The holidays are not just about buying nice gifts, but about giving the best version of yourself to the world - whether that's smiling for the family photo or visiting a friend you haven't seen in forever – we want to evoke that sentiment while also reminding people that Gap is a fantastic place to find gifts for everyone on your list.

I want our customers to come to the website or walk into a store and not feel overwhelmed that it's the holidays, or that they need to buy a million gifts right now. I want them to feel that this is a fun and festive time. Hopefully we're there to help inspire them, get them into the holiday spirit…all while checking off their shopping lists, too. We want them to celebrate with us!

What is it that you personally love about the holidays?

I like the cozy time at home and being by the fire with family and my dog. I love cooking all day, drinking wine, and all the cozy stuff that comes with the holidays – pjs, blankets, baking, all of it! It's all about feeling good and feeling loved.

Food is one of my favorite things about the holidays. My family loves to cook and bake this time of year. We have this recipe for chocolate meatballs. It's my Grandma Betty's recipe and we've made them for as long as I can remember. They're these chocolate covered peanut butter balls that look like meatballs. They always make me smile. And they're so addictive!

What kind of dog you have?

Betty Page — she's a 9-year-old Boston terrier.

And when it comes to gifting, what's your approach?

Well first of all, I should say, that I LOVE buying gifts for people. It's really fun. And it makes me really happy. But it can be stressful buying for so many people! I also happen to have a huge family — a ton of nieces and nephews — so I feel like my focus has shifted in the last couple years to buying loads of baby and kid gifts. Usually I have an idea of something to get based on someone's personality — a thing about that person that is distinct and special. That usually provides a lot of gift inspiration once you spend a little time thinking about it. And then I go from there.

And of course I end up buying a ton from Gap, and Gap Inc. brands in general. Usually I start thinking about the things I want to get early and loading up my basket online ahead of time. A lot of times I'll wait and order everything online on Black Friday. Way less stress and lots of great deals. That definitely makes my life easier!

When it comes to the adults on my list, I try to put some thought into something really special. I really like putting together gift sets. One year we gave my husband's mom a date-night gift set – a cute dress, a little necklace, some other things we knew she'd love. I try to make it really fun and personal and something they'd really be excited about, that they can't necessarily go out and buy themselves.

What's the best gift you ever received — holiday or otherwise?

Last year for Christmas my husband and I said we were going to give each other some type of activity to do. It wasn't going to be a physical gift. He gave me a Herschel makeup bag, and inside of it was a DVD of European Vacation and a check for a trip to Europe! It was something I'd been talking about for a long time, but just hadn't pulled the trigger on. I was so surprised! I literally had no idea and I was totally blown away. He completely outdid me though. He got a cooking class!

Where did you go on your trip?

Italy. And Turkey. It was amazing. Istanbul is an incredible city.

Do you have good or terrible holiday outfits from your past?

Yes! I definitely had a crushed velvet, burgundy dress with these humungous bell sleeves. It would probably be very on-trend right now! It was so '90s. And I definitely had a velvet choker to go with it. That's one that stands out. I'm also picturing some pretty bad plaid jumpers with the knee-high socks.

Do you have a favorite piece from a Gap Inc. brand, or something you've had forever that you can't get rid of?

Yes! My pajamas from Gap. I need to buy more pairs of them because I legitimately want to wear them every single night.

Other pieces I've had for a long time from Gap?

I've had a white Oxford shirt for at least 10 years that I still wear, and it's super soft now because I've washed it so many times. That's probably one that I still get a ton of use out of because I dress it up, dress it down — wear it with all kinds of different things, and it's a classic. It goes with everything. I don't think I'll ever get rid of it.

Recipe for Grandma Betty's Chocolate Covered Meatballs
Serves: 30

Ingredients
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup oatmeal
3 tablespoons melted butter
16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
 
Instructions

Mix well and form into walnut sized balls. 
Melt chocolate.
Dip formed balls into using a toothpick to turn until covered.  
Place on tray and refrigerate until firm. 

Enjoy!


For more behind-the-scenes looks at Gap Inc. for holiday...

Get to know the team who styles Banana Republic’s covetable collections, and learn their styling tips and tricks for everyday and holiday looks.
 
Your favorite Old Navy floral? It was likely hand-painted by one of our in-house artists. Meet the ladies behind our prints.
 

Meet the woman who makes fashion float for Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta. She shares her tips and tricks for styling for the perfect holiday photo. Learn her secrets.

Gap Inc. looks — now and then — with WhoWhatWear

FashionLiz NunanComment

Ten years ago, there was no iPhone, bloggers were few, and you probably relied on glossy magazines for all your style and trend advice. Fast forward to today and consumers have lots of options for how they get their fashion - from Pinterest to fashion sites to street style, there's no shortage of how to get your hands on the latest trends.

One of the first sites to recognize the need for digital fashion content is WhoWhatWear.com and for the past ten years, shoppers have turned to them for styling and fashion advice (and we've loved working with them on bringing our brands to life for their readers!).

To celebrate the last 10 years of fashion as well the 10th anniversary of WhoWhatWear, Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy partnered with the site's Editorial Director Kat Collings and Fashion Director Bobby Schuessler to take a look at some key trends (velvet from 2006, a faux fur vest from 2008, a primary-color statement coat from 2014!) as well as some of their favorite trends from our current collections. Check out this video to take a walk down memory fashion lane and get some ideas on how to wear the season's biggest trends.


Love what you saw? Shop the trends below. Happy shopping!

The Design Team Behind Some of Your Favorite Prints: How Holiday Happens at Old Navy

TalentCarlee Gomes and Kelly Flanagan, Gap Inc. bloggersComment

Do you ever see a print or pattern that just plain makes you happy? That dark floral on a maxi dress for fall, the classic tartan on a button down that will be a hit at holiday parties– sometimes the perfect print just makes you feel good, especially when you're wearing it. And that's what the design team at Old Navy wants to do.

We took a closer look at the holiday collection at Old Navy and met a few of the talented team members behind the designs, to talk hand-painted prints, tamales, ornament shopping and how some of the prettiest patterns come to be.

What do you do here at Old Navy? What is your title?

Kristina: I am the Sr. Director of Print, Pattern and Color for the brand for women's, men's, kids and baby at Old Navy.

What does that mean?

Kristina: My role is to guide the brand in print and color, so I create the color palettes for the seasons. I also work closely with the brand's SVP of Design and with a lovely team of talented artists who work on the print and pattern teams. Every print, plaid, stripe, or color you see on an OId Navy clothing item was created by our team!

Jen: I'm on the women's team. So my teammates and I create the prints for all of the women's apparel categories.

Kristina: Jen is being very modest! She's our in-house artist for all of our signature prints. She's a painter, so she gets inspiration from all over and then comes up with our signature prints from scratch. We recently celebrated Jen's talents at a brand PR event in NYC showcasing some of her hand-painted prints from our Fall 2016 collection. We have an incredible team.

Do you collaborate across categories – across men's, women's….?

Kristina: Absolutely –Our SVP of design, Sarah Holme, is all about creating synergy throughout our product.. The thing that makes us stand out as a brand is our focus on family. This season, we have the same plaid pattern that can be found in men's, women's and kids clothing. Our customer really loves that “mommy-and-me moment.” It's about threading the family wardrobe together with print and color as a key element, while still keeping the pieces unique.

Where does your inspiration come from for a pattern you might come up with?

Jen: It kind of comes from everywhere. We are constantly looking at tears – runway and street – with our concept team. We also look to vintage pieces and find inspiration in patterns we love. For Fall, one of our concepts was called “The Great Outdoors,” so it became more about berries and wild flower patterns – finding ways to work nature into the season to evoke that outdoorsy feeling while still feeling fun and feminine.

Do you start with the concept first?

Kristina: For fall, the concept really came organically. Feminine meets utility – and then our concept team put a beautiful twist on it with the outdoors piece. And then Jen drew these incredible flowers. So, again, we get our inspiration from various places but then Jen pulls from a more authentic place and makes it more personal. And that's really what I love – that the team (as Jen says) gets inspired by everything.

(to Jen) I feel like you bought a lot of flowers…

Jen: We wanted to heat press flowers but it didn't work out so well…

Kristina: We almost burned down the building! We bought a heat presser and got called by the building safety team, so…

What do you want customers to feel when you are designing? What guides you in that sense?

Kristina: We had this concept called “The Wanderer,” which was based in boho. The idea was that boho is resurging so we really wanted to have these beautiful romantic, feminine pieces. It was a fun departure from our usual designs, which are sometimes geared more on the preppy side. Our team loved the challenge of developing new boho prints while maintaining the essence of the Old Navy customer, adding pops of color and making sure the product feels happy.

With women's wear, you have to take your personal opinion out of it to make sure you're fitting the culture of our customers – that's what we're constantly doing – getting inspired, going to Old Navy, and seeing the people who shop there. That's actually one of my favorite things to do because sometimes you can find yourself in a bubble, and what we always try to do is get back to what is really wearable for her.

When it comes to pattern and textile design, what is it that you are most passionate about? What elements of what you do speaks to you?

Jen: I would say, half of it is that we have a really great team and a fantastic work environment. And the other half is getting to be creative and make beautiful things – that's really at the core of it. It's being creative and mindful of all the practical limitations at the same time, and trying to come up with creative solutions that are beautiful, but also fill a need.

Kristina: What really gets me motivated is being inspired by other creative people .The fact that we are able to work for a big brand that is so loved, and get to see so many people wearing our designs – to me, that's amazing. I once had a connecting flight in Texas on my way back from Paris, and when I landed, I saw three people wearing Old Navy – there was just something so amazing about traveling for two weeks in Europe and coming back home seeing people wearing your designs. That's just so cool!

Jen: I don't think it ever gets old seeing people wear stuff that you've worked on. Every time we're at a wedding in the summer I'm like, “She's wearing our dress!”

Let's jump into holiday – what do you love about the holidays?

Jen: I love everything that is cheesy and traditional about the holidays especially because growing up my family wasn't really into celebrating it. We never even had a tree! So now that I'm older, my husband and I always like to have a real tree for Christmas and make a big thing about decorating it and doing all the funny Christmas things that I never did growing up. It's a lot of fun.

Kristina: I have a big family, so for us it's all about celebrating family and spending time together. I love being able to make memories with my son now. I love putting on that Yule log TV channel! It's all about really getting into the spirit.

What's your approach to gifting during the holidays?

Kristina: As I get older, I've been much more into more personalized stuff. Trying to figure out more personalized gifts for people that I put together myself, and I think that is like my biggest challenge. I always want to go with gift certificates! But my son is the first person I shop for.

Jen: I'm really bad about the gift giving and always leave shopping to the last minute. Even when I try to plan ahead, I can never follow through! I'll say to myself, “I'm going to hand paint all my Christmas cards this year!” and then I blink and it's the week before Christmas and they're definitely not going out on time.

What are your holiday traditions?

Jen: We are constantly adding new things. Making new traditions every year. It was so bare bones for me to start with…we started with a tree and now we're collecting ornaments. And every year we add something more. Now we make our own cider, too.

Do you have a certain aesthetic that guides you in your ornament collecting?

Jen: I don't have a specific aesthetic—I just buy what I like! Especially when we go on trips. We bought random ornaments in Sweden when we were there – and it was May – but we saw these wooden horses and I was like, “Oh we need to get these!”

Kristina: We always go to my mom's house to decorate the tree--she has the same ceramic ornaments from forever ago. My dad is Mexican so we make tamales a few days before Christmas using my grandmother's recipe– it's full day of hard labor but it's amazing. My family is also really into Black Friday shopping so they love going to Old Navy. It's a sport!


For more behind-the-scenes looks at Gap Inc. for holiday...

Meet the woman who makes fashion float for Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta. She shares her tips and tricks for styling for the perfect holiday photo. Learn her secrets.

Get to know the team who styles Banana Republic’s covetable collections, and learn their styling tips and tricks for everyday and holiday looks.

Meet the woman who helps Gap create a happy, festive and seamless shopping experience for customers online and in stores… and learn about her family’s holiday tradition of chocolate meatballs.

Designing the perfect Friendsgiving

ExperienceKelly Flanagan, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Deck the halls and dress to impress... it's time to gather your friends for Friendsgiving!

This chic tradition brings together the family you choose to surround yourself with so you can share in your favorite foods, customs and festivities that make the holidays worth waiting for every year. Everyone brings their special recipe, drink or decor to the table to create a giant feast of fun.

This year, Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic partnered to create their own Friendsgiving — featuring next level, oh-so-Instagram-worthy recipes, drinks, table decor and, of course, head-to-toe looks styled by a beloved set of Bay Area influencers.

Sacramento Street blogger/designer Caitlin Flemming hosted this Gap Inc.-brand fueled Friendsgiving, conjuring a stunning table setting with delicate pine needles, taper candles and autumn-inspired flowers.

Guests Erica Coffman (Honestly WTF), Nichole Ciotti (Vanilla Extract), Amanda Holstein (Advice From a 20-Something), Todd Wagner (Honestly YUM), Erin Hiemstra (Apartment 34), Jeanne Chan (Shop Sweet Things) and Therese Jacinto (Craft & Couture) each contributed their own dishes, libations and decor to bring the celebration to life.

Take a look behind the scenes as Caitlin and her guests get ready for Friendsgiving. See how Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic teams partner with each trendsetter to define and capture his and her holiday looks in the video, above.

Because it's always better to celebrate with friends, in style.

The craft of cashmere: Banana Republic partners with Scotland’s famed Todd & Duncan mill

FashionKelly Flanagan and Brooke Ginnard, Gap Inc. bloggers1 Comment

Deceptively green at a glance, the rolling hills that envelop the heart of Scotland are a mix of highs and lows — the grasses a blend of greens, golds, browns, oranges dotted with purple wildflowers and white sheep. The clouds also add to this effect — a dramatic blend of whites, grays, browns constantly mixing together to diffuse light and rain over the autumn landscape, parting every so often to reveal the sun.

This rustic blend of natural colors is reflected at famed Scottish cashmere mill Todd & Duncan, where pigment specialists take inspiration from Scotland's countryside to give new life and color to the finest quality cashmere fiber — painstakingly cared for and crafted into the world's most luxurious, sought-after cashmere yarn.

Now partnering with Banana Republic, Todd & Duncan is using its 140-plus years of spinning expertise to develop luxurious cashmere yarns, using the finest quality cashmere fiber, in exclusive colors for the brand.

"They offer these color ranges that you really don't see anywhere else," says Megan Kearney, Sr. Manager of Production at Banana Republic. "They've developed a couple of color palettes for us that focus on new neutrals — aside from the typical grays, creams and oatmeals — so it really creates a full neutral color range."

Like Scotland's hills, at first glance a Banana Republic cashmere sweater spun with Todd & Duncan yarn may, deceptively, appear blue. Upon closer inspection, the cashmere encompasses a blend of blues, greens, browns, even oranges. These unique blends create rich colors with a fullness that leaps out from any wardrobe.

Craftsmanship is taken seriously at Todd & Duncan: A "junior" spinner may have been working at the mill for just 20 years, as opposed to a master spinner who will have worked with the yarn for more than 40.

Men and women working in various stages of yarn production speak of the mill as if it were an old family friend. With warm voices and a twinkle in their eyes, they can tell you about the mill's history in Scotland, its reputation for quality and the pride they take in carrying that reputation forward. Signs throughout the mill remind employees that the quality of the cashmere yarns is in their hands.

Though armed with a deep-rooted history, Todd & Duncan continues to reinvest its resources in new technologies, partnering closely with Banana Republic and others to evolve the design capabilities of cashmere and deliver luxurious yarns that customers crave.

"The cashmere is built to last here because we use the best raw material," says Bruce Cameron, who manages brand partnerships for Todd & Duncan. "We use long fiber with a consistent micron. We then take care of that through every one of the processes so we're not damaging it, and then we spin it slightly differently. We make it a very firm yarn that will get softer and softer... like a rose that is about to go into bloom."

Watch the video, above, to learn more about how Todd & Duncan crafts its cashmere yarns.

Read more about how Banana Republic partners with cross-functional teams to transform product, and about how the BR team chooses third-party labels to feature in stores.

A seamless experience for job seekers

ExperienceKirsten Berg, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

From industry-leading technology on our e-commerce sites and apps, to mobile POS, to single checkout, we're embracing digital in every area of our business. So it's no surprise that when candidates are considering Gap Inc. as an employer, they expect a seamless, user-friendly experience when applying for a job.

This October, Gap Inc.'s Talent Marketing team launched a new careers site that allows the company to continue to attract the very best talent, while showcasing Gap Inc.'s entire brand portfolio. Candidates are able to search for jobs at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix and Gap Inc. within one connected experience — maximizing hiring potential.

Visually, the design was intended to be cohesive, yet maintain each brand's individuality. Users are able to experience a slice of life at each brand, with imagery and video showcasing current employees and offering a glimpse of life behind the scenes at Gap Inc.

To help guide the overall site strategy, the Talent and Technology teams relied on focus group research with external candidates, while also benchmarking against industry leaders.

Here are three key insights the Talent team used to guide the site's design:

1. Above all, candidates want to quickly and easily find the jobs they are looking for.

The team made search front-and-center, building a custom keyword search to make it easy for candidates to scour more than 5,000 jobs. Search is performed by keyword within the brand(s) of the candidate's choice. Users are able to further filter by category, city, state and more.

As more and more candidates visit the site, the Talent team will utilize user feedback to continue to enhance the search tool.

2. Approximately 65% of candidates use mobile devices to apply for jobs.

A mobile-first philosophy was a must-have. The site uses a responsive design — responding to each user's behavior as well as every unique device — making it easy to search for and apply to a job on the go.

3. Candidates care about culture fit. They want to understand and support their employer's values, and know how the business impacts communities.

A content-rich experience showcases all of that and more. The Talent team partnered with brand Communications and Marketing teams to develop a custom design for each brand that not only aligns with the e-commerce sites, but also features employee stories and videos that showcase Gap Inc.'s culture.

Users will notice unique content displayed on each page — some relating to their specific job searches — delivering a truly dynamic experience.

What's next?

Based on user feedback and insights, the Talent team will continue to evolve the site. The biggest thing in store thus far? Throughout 2016 and into early 2017, the team will launch translated brand experiences for the countries in which Gap Inc. operates.

Check out the new careers site. Questions? Comment below.

From part-time to permanent: When a seasonal job turns into a career you love

TalentKirsten Berg, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Thinking about applying for a seasonal job at one of our stores this holiday season? You'll love the incredible merchandise discounts — but there's a good chance you'll fall for the company, too. Meet four employees who started as seasonal hires in our stores and wound up finding their passion. Head here to check out seasonal jobs at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta.

Where it all began

Lisa Cepis, Athleta district manager based in Ohio, started working at Gap during her senior year of college, and got bitten by the retail bug upon discovering how varied a retail career could be. Lisa now oversees nine Athleta stores in four states.

Jeannie Perez, general manager at Old Navy at Florida's Miami International Mall, was nudged by her mom to get a job at age 17. Although she didn't have any previous work experience, she was hired as a summer seasonal employee at Old Navy in the local mall. She is about to start managing one of the company's top 40 stores.

J.P. Hunter, district manager for Banana Republic Factory, based in Florida, was so into the Gap brand that as a high-schooler, he commuted 30 minutes each way for his job at the nearest store. He stayed with the store through college, and likes to say that he “majored in Gap." About six years ago, J.P. moved to Banana Republic, and is now responsible for nine stores (soon to be 10) in four states.

Juan Lara-Diaz, general manager at the Gap Factory store in San Leandro, Calif.,started at Gap Factory right out of high school, as a seasonal hire during back-to-school season. By the time holiday season started four months later, he was the store's acting manager.

So what are the coolest perks you get when you take a seasonal job at Gap Inc.?

Lisa: I started as a back-to-school seasonal hire for the amazing employee discount. I still love the discount, but I'm also really grateful for the chance to move between Gap Inc. brands and land with a brand whose mission is to uplift women.

J.P.: I don't think there are many companies that are as accommodating to the work-school-life balance as we are. If you're in school and need to arrange your schedule around classes or take time off for finals, we're going to help. We definitely understand the importance of education here.

Juan: Right away, I got incredibly helpful support, tools and feedback. I'm working on a degree in retail management and I know that the experience I've gotten working here, and the collaboration I've had with coworkers goes so far beyond what I could ever learn from a textbook. Plus who doesn't want to work in a store where they love the merchandise? I have my eye on a pair of Slim Stretch jeans right now.

Jeannie: This isn't a guaranteed perk of working at Old Navy, but I met my husband here — he was on the shipment team. Now we have two Old Navy babies: Aria is 3 and Daniel is nine months old. The moral of the story is that no matter what part of the organization you're a part of, you meet and work with some amazing people.

What should people know about taking a seasonal gig at one of your stores?

Lisa: What makes it exciting for me during the holidays is spreading joy — both for our teams and for the customer in front of me. If a customer walks in having a bad day, how do we make it better? Yes, we sell great clothes, but we do so much more than that. Getting to see the ways we can put a smile on someone's face right before our eyes is such a treat.

Juan: It's fast-paced, but it's the time of year when we have the most fun. We have contests, gift exchanges, potlucks — all kinds of things to help make this a great environment to work in and a fun place to shop. Everyone gets into the spirit of the season.

Jeannie: It's a wonderful place to earn some cash and get discounts on holiday gifts (checking off your holiday shopping list gets a whole lot easier!) ... but it can become so much more than that if you want it to be. And it is never boring.

J.P.: It feels like a real accomplishment to help someone find the perfect gift or perfect outfit for a holiday event. It's also incredibly satisfying to help people check things off their shopping lists and help make the holiday craziness a little bit less crazy so that I don't have to think about my own!

Check out seasonal jobs at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta.

For keeps: seasonal employees who stay

TalentKirsten Berg, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Thinking of applying for a seasonal gig at one of our stores during the holidays? You might well end up with much more than some extra cash and a great discount on gifts. We recently chatted with three sales associates who joined Athleta, Gap and Banana Republic as seasonal hires and loved their stores so much, they decided to become permanent employees. Head here to check out seasonal jobs at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta.

THE PERKS

Audrey Mundstock, a sales associate at Athleta in Bayshore Town Center in Milwaukee, Wis., is a distance runner who especially loves Athleta's Fastest Track tees, so “the discount was a huge perk" when she joined the store's team during the 2015 holiday season — as was scheduling that accommodated her classes at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Flexibility in scheduling is also key for associates who juggle work and family life, like Joanne Tassone. She's coming up on her second anniversary at the Gap Factory store in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, where she signed on as a seasonal employee in 2014.

“During the school year I can work while my kids are in school," said the mom of two, “and in the summer, I can change it up to work evenings so I can be home with them during the day."

THE PEOPLE

Linda Bird, who joined the Banana Republic team at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif., for the Summer 2015 season after retiring from a long career in corporate sales, enjoys the culture and the diverse team at her store.

“I think I'm the oldest one here," she said with a laugh. “My younger colleagues give me energy... maybe I give them some wisdom!"

Joanne echoes Linda's appreciation for her co-workers. “I wondered if I'd be judged for having been a stay-at-home mom," Joanne said, “but the people I work with are amazing — you come in and immediately they treat you as one of their own.

“During the holidays, especially, we have a lot of fun sharing treats and letting off steam together."

THE POSSIBILITIES

Audrey will graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the spring; she plans to move to Minneapolis to work at another Athleta store and look for work in the graphic design field.

“The chance to stay with a job I know and really like is a great thing, and will make the transition after graduation so much easier," she said.

For Joanne, the job has reverberated more deeply than she ever expected. “As a mom, you're always doing something for someone else," she explained. “So when your kids get older and don't need you as much, it's easy to feel a little bit lost. Taking the plunge into a job like this can give you some independence, a feeling of accomplishment, and of course help in paying the bills at home."

And for Linda, learning a different kind of sales job than what she was used to has been a delight. “When you bring your life experience here and apply it alongside the thorough training you get, your life can turn into something totally different from what you'd envisioned," she said.

“If you like people and like to learn, this is a wonderful place to be."

Check out seasonal jobs at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta.

Beyond factory walls: Reaching women and girls in the communities they build

ExperienceCarlee Gomes, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

What inspires you to change your world? Gap partnered with the award-winning 23 Stories x Condé Nast studio, Vogue, and internationally acclaimed filmmaker Vanessa Black to showcase the inspirational stories of three unique women in Sri Lanka through a 12-minute documentary-style film.

Mary, Margaret and Puwaneshwary are currently enrolled in Gap Inc.'s P.A.C.E. program, which first launched in 2007 with a mission of teaching the women who make our clothes critical skills for navigating life at work and at home. In 2013, after seeing some of the incredible impact P.A.C.E. was having on its graduates, the program expanded to go beyond the factory walls and reach women in the communities where they live.

Now, P.A.C.E. community programming extends even further, to include adolescent girls ages 13-17.

Watch the video trailer, above, and see the full film on Vogue's video channel.

Adolescence is a formative time, and girls in many countries often do not have access to educational opportunities to grow and reach their potential.

“This new program was born from the success and dreams of P.A.C.E. participants, who wished that their daughters could have access to the same life skills they themselves gained through P.A.C.E., enabling them to improve their self-esteem and outlook for the future," said Dan Henkle, President of Gap Foundation and SVP of Global Sustainability at Gap Inc.

The launch of P.A.C.E.'s girls program marks an important milestone in Gap Inc.'s commitment to reach one million women by 2020. Pilot programs will launch in India and Haiti this fall, followed by Sri Lanka and other countries in 2017.

“It is the personal journeys of the women involved with P.A.C.E. that inspire us and push us further," said Dotti Hatcher, Executive Director, P.A.C.E. “It is the stories we have heard and the women we have worked with that have led to us creating the girls program."

In less than 10 years, Gap Inc.'s P.A.CE. program has reached more than 45,000 women in 12 different countries across the globe. By including younger women at such an important time in their development, the program's positive impact has the opportunity to grow exponentially.

One by one, P.A.C.E. will continue to support women and girls across the globe in reaching their fullest potential.

Donate button brings good vibes to your shopping experience

ExperienceErika Lawson and Carlee Gomes, Gap Inc. bloggers1 Comment

During your next online shopping trip, your purchase may very well give you a fix of Instagram-worthy fashions and a dose of good karma.

Based on the success of an already popular in-store experience with customers, the tech team at Gap Inc. recently incorporated the option for customers to donate directly from the ecommerce site, where shoppers can opt to donate a few dollars to partners such as Girls on the Run — seamlessly — as they check out.

The process is unobtrusive and optional — but one that is a cause for much celebration among the teams working on the digital innovation.

“This is a project where we are able to see the results," said Camille Collier-Young, an Online Donations Team Project Manager. “I get to go to the website and be like, 'Ah! I helped with that!'"

To kick-off the project, Gap Tech's UX Team put together a design for how the experience should work and then handed it off to the Online Donation Team for production. The feature is highly flexible — from both a usability and customer donation perspective — and the team is able to pivot and incorporate updates based on the data and results they are seeing, only in a matter of days.

The technology was finished after a team across two continents and three time zones — North America and Asia; Pacific, Central, and India Standard Times — collaborated to get it done. The donation option, now visible to shoppers at Athleta.com, is slated to be rolled out across other brands as well over the coming months.

"This is a project that really made my mom proud," said Jeff Orange, Product Manager on the team, who had previously been working on a project involving credit card checkout. "We made a decision as a company to move forward with online donations because it fits with our company philosophy for giving back to the communities we are a part of. That's why we did this project."

"Oh, and it makes my mom proud of me!" Orange added.

San Francisco Intermix store designed as a ‘jewel box’ by the bay

ExperienceLiz NunanComment

Intermix President Jyothi Rao in the brand's new San Francisco store.

Located in the heart of San Francisco's Fillmore district, Intermix's newest store boasts an edited selection that is perfectly suited for the tech executives, plugged-in international tourists and Pacific Heights fashionistas living and working in the city by the bay.

Described a “beautiful jewel box," the store at 2223 Fillmore St. was thoughtfully designed to capture the unique vibe of this San Francisco district. Examples include original art from local artist Kelly Ording, who drew directly on the walls to create an elevated, linear design unifying the clean lines of the space. The team also designed with efficiency in mind: There is no cash register, which leaves more room for beautiful product and a seamless mobile shopping experience.

A mix of classic elegance with technological advancements, this new store is the perfect fit for Bay Area shoppers and for Intermix.

Read more about how Intermix is experimenting with and evolving the physical storefront through its Retail Lab.

See Gap Inc. through the times via GIFs

ExperienceGap Inc. blogs1 Comment

Don and Doris Fisher started Gap in 1969 with the idea of bridging the “generation gap," and now, 47 years later, the company has five brands that provide modern, stylish clothing for people of all ages.

This #TBT, we're looking across the years at some of our favorite pieces of Gap Inc. history (in GIF form, naturally):

10 years of This Way Ahead

ExperienceCarlee Gomes, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Do you remember your first job? And the pride you felt when you received your first paycheck?

A first job is not just a milestone — for many teens and young adults, it can be life changing. 

INTERMIX Retail Lab connects customers with the runway

ExperienceTighe Flatley, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

It used to be, if you wanted to know the identity of the most up-and-coming designer in the fashion industry, you needed access to a New York Fashion Week presentation or a whispered heads-up from a powerful person in the know.

That whisper still exists — for now — in the form of a shop. INTERMIX recently opened the doors to its first concept shop in the Meatpacking District of New York City. 

Gap design team partners with Pendleton on limited-edition plaid collection

FashionErika Lawson, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Denim and plaid: two American classics, great on their own – even better together. Which is why the Gap’s latest collaboration with Pendleton Woolen Mills makes perfect sense (especially with cold weather dressing upon us).

Buy Now, at Fashion Week: See how the BR team creates a seamless shopping experience at NYFW

ExperienceTighe Flatley, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

Design is in the details. And it takes obsession with detail to breathe life into that irresistible piece of clothing. These are the people behind the scenes at Gap Inc. — the dedicated professionals who push themselves every day to create clothing that resonates with the finesse of their trade. Get to know these heroes of their craft.

For a spacious room filled with a number of people, it's startlingly quiet. All you can hear is the hum of the lights above, and, if you listen carefully, the staccato of New York City cab horns careening through the Chelsea streets outside, where a crowd of people are waiting to enter.

A wide, brightly lit floor houses platforms where fashion models stand in groups, getting the final touches to their looks. Stylists, like sculptors taking one last chip at the marble, pinch and twist pant cuffs. They adjust grips on handbags, and tucks into belts. They then stand back to critique and admire their work.

Moments later, the doors open. The crowd spills in. Music, up. Cameras, snap. Photographers crouch with their cameras to get close-ups of shoes; they stand back to get head-to-toe looks. More people — influencers, bloggers, editors, social media stars — file into the room. iPhones are out and on, clicking and uploading and tagging and liking.

And — significantly — buying.

This is the Banana Republic presentation at New York Fashion Week.

For the fourth time in the brand's history, Banana Republic hosted media, influencers and the like to preview the Spring 2017 collection as part of NYFW. While many brands showed during the bi-annual event, the BR presentation allowed attendees to shop select looks — a grey lace off-the-shoulder top, say, or a skirt with a laser-cut eyelet design — and have it in their online shopping bags before even leaving the presentation.

This is the second year Banana Republic has incorporated its Buy Now feature at Fashion Week — producing an experience where customers can see a product from the presentation and put in their online shopping cart within minutes.

"The immediacy that customers want today is a growing trend within the fashion industry, and it's not going away," says Royce Gordon, a member of BR's public relations team that hosts the presentation. "Buy Now is our answer to that — where a person can, at a realistic price point, see a good, quality piece, purchase it for fall to wear ahead of season, and get a second season wear out of it in spring."

When Banana Republic first offered Buy Now in February 2016, there were six pieces available online. This time, there are 15 — a tribute to the responsiveness of the team to meet customer and industry demand.

"Buy Now brings the New York Fashion Week experience to our customer's closet at the speed of lightning," says Johana Ozuna, who heads up production for Banana Republic from the New York City office. "We want to meet that customer's need for immediacy. We create tight timelines and make sure we're producing high-quality, beautiful pieces that can hit the presentation and the site and store simultaneously."

In order to do this, Johana and her team work directly with mills (the businesses that create the fabric) and vendors (the businesses that sew the garments) to create timetables and production plans. Whereas production for most pieces typically occurs after a NYFW presentation (all of the other looks will be available in spring 2017), these 15 pieces were developed and produced in line with one another.

That means, in a word, speed.

"There's a shift in the way we work in order to help make this happen," Johana says. "There's speed in the way we communicate with one another and speed in how decisions are made."

That means making sure the team in place is a seasoned, well-skilled one that understands the nuances and processes of getting products to store. The team also goes through exercises that are counter to the typical way of working. For example, making a decision for color based off of chips and cutouts versus exact fabric samples, which takes extra time to obtain. Or, whereas typical collections usually have the benefit of time to get insight from multiple team members and multiple levels, cutting the decision-making process down to three key people — say, representatives from design, vendor relations and inventory management — to ensure one minute is not lost in waiting to deliver the final product.

"Trust is a big word for us here," Johana says. "In this case, we as a team have to ensure that there is trust and accountability for the whole cross-functional team."

What that means is level-setting expectations at the beginning across the team, and stating the goal in mind. And, ensuring people feel that they, as the decision maker, are capable of carving out a path forward and driving the business.

That responsiveness is what drives the entire NYFW experience — even customers speeding to get the looks they love.

"Our entire shopping experience is meant to re-create the elevated feel of New York Fashion Week," says Jen Matic, senior director of marketing creative. "We produced the brand's first shoppable video — so that you can see a look, click and buy it — that was shot during a pre-shoot and executed right away."

"Everything about Buy Now is to give the customer exactly that — an experience of 'now.'"

This includes putting some of the pieces into the Banana Republic Flatiron flagship store for purchase on the afternoon of the presentation. Attendees (or followers online) who were so excited about a particular piece could leave the Fashion Week venue for the Flatiron store, purchase one of the 15 Buy Now pieces and wear it to dinner that night — all while NYFW shows are still underway.

Having the NYFW product also live in a brick-and-mortar space — along with its online presence — is something that Johana says will provide customers with a tactical, direct contact with the NYFW experience. This is invaluable, given the direction of the industry.

"What started as a crazy idea a few months ago is now an industry phenomenon," Johana says. "And now anyone can see a look on their phone, pick up the product in store and wear it out that night. We want to make those crazy ideas a not-so-crazy reality."

Check out Banana Republic's full New York Fashion Week collection and the inspiration behind it, and shop Spring 2017 now at BananaRepublic.com.