Gap names Todd Oldham Old Navy creative director

Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:40am EDT

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LOS ANGELES, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Gap Inc (GPS.N) named New York fashion designer Todd Oldham the design creative director for its Old Navy chain on Friday, in a move designed to revive sales and reclaim lost market share at the struggling apparel brand.

Oldham, who takes up his new position on Oct. 1, will "play a key role in developing and implementing the merchandise creative direction at Old Navy," the San Francisco-based apparel company said in a statement.

Oldham will also develop and launch a line of merchandise under the Todd Oldham name that will be exclusively sold at Old Navy, one of Gap's three chains that sells lower-cost, casual apparel to family shoppers.

Texas-born Oldham, whose colorful, quirky fashion designs propelled him to fashion stardom in the early 1990s, also works as an interior designer and graphic artist. Oldham has designed hotels in Miami and nightclubs in New York and hosts "Top Design," a reality show on Bravo about interior design.

Oldham's work has not been confined to the high-fashion world and, like fellow designers Isaac Mizrahi and Vera Wang, he has even delved into the mass market. Oldham has designed a collection of furniture for La-Z-Boy Inc (LZB.N) and dorm room furniture for Target Corp (TGT.N).

"I am thrilled to be working with the Old Navy team and am so looking forward to help guide the creative direction of such an esteemed brand that means so much to literally millions of customers each week," Oldham said in a statement.

Gap Inc has struggled to correct slumping sales at its main chain Gap and Old Navy, whose stores and merchandise analysts have said need a make-over to bring in more shoppers.

The chain has also seen market share erode to a host of competitors, including Kohl's Corp (KSS.N) and Target. But Old Navy earlier this year hired a new head of marketing, Michael Cape, who is charged with helping to rebuild the brand.

The hiring of Oldham, whose other television appearances include stints on MTV and "The Today Show," is the second this year involving a high-profile fashion name on television hired by a major apparel company.

In February, Tim Gunn, star of the hit television reality show "Project Runway" was tapped by Liz Claiborne Inc LIZ.N to be its new chief creative director as the company sheds its underperforming brands to concentrate on younger lines with more growth potential. Gunn was a long-time chair of the fashion design department of New York's Parsons The New School for Design.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage)

((Editing by Andre Grenon, Richard Chang; email: alexandria.sage@reuters.com +1-213-955-6781)) Keywords: GAP OLDHAM/ Keywords: GAP OLDHAM/

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