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Inside Gigi Hadid’s New Knitwear Brand, ‘Guest in Residence’

The model’s accessibly priced, direct-to-consumer cashmere concept is launching online and with a New York Fashion Week pop-up.
Gigi Hadid wearing pieces from her new cashmere line Guest in Residence.
Gigi Hadid wearing pieces from her new cashmere line Guest in Residence. (Pablo Di Prima)

Gigi Hadid wants to introduce cashmere to a new generation.

With her new direct-to-consumer line, called Guest In Residence, the 27-year-old model hopes to reposition the material with pieces that are fashionable, fun and relatively affordable compared to the options currently proposed by luxury brands.

“I would love for people to save up for one piece, have it for a long time, love it and pass it down,” Hadid, who is creative director of her brand, told BoF in an interview by phone.

The brand is launching online Wednesday with a collection of 100 percent cashmere basics — including hoodies and sweats, polo shirts, beanies and socks — mostly priced under $400. That permanent line will be refreshed with new colourways throughout the year and is set to be sold alongside smaller, seasonal capsule collections of “funky cashmere” — pieces that are more design-driven and directional, Hadid said.

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The brand also plans to release limited-edition, higher-priced drops created in collaboration with other brands or artists.

Guest in Residence hopes that through its various segments it can propose something for everyone, regardless of age, gender or personal style, Hadid said. That ambition is underscored in a debut campaign featuring 100 portraits dubbed “The Yearbook,” shot by Pablo Di Prima. The models, a mix of faces from street casting and Hadid’s own circle, range in age from one to 100 years old.

To execute Hadid’s vision, Guest In Residence built a team including a head designer hired from The Row, Sijeo Kim; fashion editor Gabriella Karefa Johnson helping with styling; and Julia Wagner heading up art direction.

The brand’s first collection includes pieces in traditional, muted tones like camel and grey alongside bright, pop colours like bubblegum pink, lime green and sunshine yellow.

“There’s kind of a mix between this core collection and then also what I think is the heart of our company, which is funky cashmere,” Hadid said. “We have very classical pieces and colours, but we also go there and make it young and fresh and something that I think people can really find their personality in.”

In addition to the e-commerce rollout, the brand plans to mark its launch with a week-long pop-up shop in New York’s SoHo neighbourhood, opening Sunday during New York Fashion Week.

The popularity of cashmere has boomed in recent years, as players ranging from contemporary brands like Theory to fast fashion’s Uniqlo pushed to democratise the material. Still, high-quality cashmere items, particularly from luxury specialists like Loro Piana and Brunello Cucinelli, can easily set shoppers back four figures.

Even Hadid, a top model with an ample wardrobe budget, says she found herself turning to hand-me-downs from her parents. “I was not drawn to spending these insane amounts,” she said. Hadid sensed an opportunity.

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“This was a space where I could take a material I see as having a lot of sustainable qualities — in terms of it being natural, something that if you take care of it can last a long time,” she said, and make it more relevant and accessible to her young and global audience.

Hadid’s venture will need to work to prove its value to consumers in a crowded fashion market that’s become increasingly saturated with celebrity-driven brands. The label is launching as high inflation and concerns of an economic recession are expected to see shoppers become more discerning in their purchases.

Guest in Residence says its sweaters, which start at $225, use high-quality long fibres as opposed to short ones that pill easily. The brand opted for a tight tension rather a loosely woven look in part so that the items would hold up better, it said. And the brand’s direct-to-consumer model aims to keep prices down, Hadid said, limiting customers’ exposure to the hefty markups charged by retailers.

“This is about encouraging the generation that follows me to do something I don’t think they’re encouraged to a lot, which is really to buy less and invest in your wardrobe, invest in pieces that can be styled 100 ways,” Hadid said.

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