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The global fashion business journal

Jul 17, 202411:19am

G-Star fuels Southern Europe team and recruits a new retail director formerly at Esprit

Sabine Hernanz, with twenty years of experience in the sector, will lead retail operations in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Besides, the Dutch denim company has incorporated a new global head of merchandising.

May 14, 2018 — 5:00am
L. Molina

G-Star fuels Southern Europe team and recruits a new retail director formerly at Esprit



G-Star Raw builds up its team in Southern Europe. A year after creating a global direction for the region, the Dutch company has hired a new retail director to pilot its rollout with stores in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. In addition, a former Benetton, C&A and Zalando executive has joined the team as global head of merchandising, as company sources have explained to MDS.


The denim group created a single direction for Southern Europe in spring 2017 and put Luca Fiorita at its helm, as reported by Modaes.es. The decision involved the departure of the managing directors for different markets, including Spain.


The new retail director for G-Star in Southern Europe, Sabine Hernanz, took office last month and has a track record of twenty years in the sector. The executive, who holds a degree in English philology and literature by the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, began her career in 2000 as store manager at Jennyfer in Paris.


In 2003, the manager was promoted to regional director by the French women's fashion chain, a position she held until early 2007. Back then, Hernanz joined Quiksilver as area manager for the northeast of France, managing ninety employees and nineteen stores, with revenues close to fifteen million euros.





In July 2012, Hernanz left Quiksilver to assume the same functions at Esprit. A year and a half later, the executive was promoted to head of retail for the north of France, a position she held until April 2015, when she was recruited by Max Mara to fill the same position. Since January 2017, Hernanz was in charge of the expansion with physical stores in La Redoute. From now on, Hernanz will be based in Paris and will report to Luca Fiorita.



Benetton and C&A talent in charge of 'merchandising'

In addition to Hernanz’s appointment, G-Star has incorporated two other executives to its team: Paulien van der Vegt, new global head of merchandising, and Caroline Le Gal, marketing director for Southern Europe and former director at Levi’s.


Van der Vegt has more than twenty years of experience working for international fashion groups. The executive, formed at the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam, began his professional career at Esprit as a product analyst, where she worked between 1991 and 1995.


After a year holding the same position for Nike, the manager joined Tommy Hilfiger in 1998 as senior director of merchandising for Hilfiger Denim. After nearly twelve years in office, Van der Vegt joined Guess to assume the same functions, leaving Amsterdam to move to Lugano (Switzerland).


In 2013, the executive became head of product at Zalando, where it piloted the development of Zlabels women's collections. Two years later, in 2015, Van der Vegt was hired by C&A as buying manager and, after two years occupying this position, Benetton hired her as denim director, a position she held until now.


Strong shake-ups within G-Star’s board

Van der Vegt’s appointment took place almost at the same time that Aitor Throup, the company's creative director since November 2016, abandoned G-Star. The Brazilian designer is now focusing on the development of his own menswear brand, New Object Research, while continuing to collaborate with brands such as CP Company and Umbro.

In October 2017, G-Star put an end to the two-headed structure that managed the company from the end of 2016. Following this move, Rob Schilder remained the only company’s CEO, while Patrick Kraaijeveld, co-CEO during just eleven months, left the company.

G-Star is headquartered in Amsterdam and operates with around 6,000 points of sale in more than sixty countries. It is estimated that the company, which does not share any turnover figures, achieved sales close to 750 million euros in 2013.


G-Star operates with around 6,000 points of sale in more than sixty countries


The group was born in 1989, when Dutch entrepreneur Jos Van Tilburg developed a denim line for the local brand Second Group. That collection was called Gap Star and was the seed of a more ambitious project under the G-Star name.

The boom of the brand occurred in the mid-nineties with the launch of the Elwood jeans, one of the brand products that has reported more sales to the company. In 2002, Van Tilburg and Second Group broke its partnership and the Dutch businessman took the helm of the brand.

In the first decade of the noughties, G-Star boosted its international expansion, diversified its assortment beyond jeans and started its retail rollout network by opening its first standalone stores. In 2006, the group’s turnover had already achieved more than 400 million euros.

In 2013, the company gave a new twist to its retail strategy and carried out flagship store openings in key European cities. The first of these stores was launched in London's Oxford Street, whereas in Spain, G-Star opened on Calle Serrano (Madrid) and on Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona.

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