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Sr Director, Fabric R&D

San Francisco, California 94105

Job#: 257479 Date Posted: Oct. 22, 2018

Job Status: Full-time

Since the beginning, we’ve been inspired by everything women and girls are capable of, whether they’re serious athletes or just getting into fitness.  We create versatile premium performance apparel designed for a life in motion. Challenge fuels us and we are always reaching for the amazing.

We’re looking for people who find inspiration in the same things we do: the limitless potential of women and girls everywhere. If you share our passion for a healthy, active lifestyle, personal growth, innovative product and creating rewarding experiences – join our community. Athleta is a certified B Corp – put simply we put people and planet right up there with profit and we’re committed to using business as a force for good.

Alone we are strong, united we thrive. Together, we create the Power of She.

GENERAL SUMMARY:    The Sr Director, Fabric R&D is part of the Athleta Production Team. The candidate must possess strong and inspirational leadership skills with a proven track record of innovation. This skill will be demonstrated in building and driving strategies to support brand sourcing and innovation goals. Individual will bring new ideas to the design table each season while also conducting season-less research to develop ongoing core fabrics, sustainable fibers and dying techniques for improved quality, responsiveness and cost. Individual will work with Sourcing and Production partners to develop design requests with appropriate suppliers and offer creative aesthetic and cost solutions within brand strategy for both Athleta and Hill City.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DELIVERABLES:  Lead the Fabric R&D team that is responsible for driving newness and innovation, performance fabrications and development. As part of the production team, brings new ideas to the design table each season while also conducting season-less, continual research and development.
  • Lead the Fabric R&D teams for both Athleta and Hill City to translate the brand aesthetic into clear, executable direction for GIS /vendors/ suppliers
  • Maintain a consistent alignment with Design for all divisions on overall concepts as it ties to our Brand Strategy
  • Source seasonal design requests with appropriate GIS partners and vendors to offer creative solutions if the request is outside the brands sourcing and pricing strategy
  • Attend fabric shows as appropriate to gain perspective on innovation and trend as it applies to Athleta and Hill City
  • Regularly shops competitors and aspirational brands to better understand where they are and where they are going with fabrics and price points as it relates to business
  • Utilize technical expertise to realistically translate the design intent on fabric and yarn requests to meet raw material cost parameters and guidelines
  • Analyze fabric needs across the brand and make recommendations to Production and Design for leveraging qualities across divisions
  • Communicate and elevate potential Quality and AUC issues to leadership with recommended solves in season
  • Manage product integrity by reviewing testing exception reports. Trouble shoots to solve and recommend options
  • Maintain a fabric and trim resource library to support seasonal inspiration as well as archive historical and fundamental fabrications
  • Encourage and promote utilization of brand liabilities to Design and Merchandising seasonally
  • Ensure product development milestones and calendar dates are met
  • Attracts, develops and retains creative talent
  • Develops high performing individual contributors and leaders of others
  • Manage raw material process to achieve cost and responsive supply chain goals
  • Build and clearly articulate seasonal boards and trends that represent overall brand strategy, design vision, and textile industry innovations and trends
  • Identify and cost engineer fabric/wash within seasonal key trends to support family messages and cross-leveraging opportunities. Reverse engineer innovative fabrics/yarns to meet a value proposition
  • Work closely with Global Production and vendors to ensure smooth handoff of Design Development packages and seamless execution of product
  • Create and monitor R & D calendar to ensure all development dates are adhered to and that follow through is achieved
  • Oversee fabric approvals with Design determining proper hand feel, wash and construction
  • Manage alignment cross divisionally on fabric strategies
  • Brand point person to integrate with Gap Inc. Innovation Center and Aro for commercializing materials into assortment
  • Excellent technical knowledge of yarn knits and performance fabrications
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to negotiate and build consensus across multiple functions
  • Working knowledge and understanding of Production
  • Proven ability to work closely and partner effectively with Designers and Production partners
  • Proven strong management skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to regularly interface with and influence senior management
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Power Point and Excel preferred
  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience preferred
  • 15+ years in textile industry working with fabrics
  • 6+ years of management experience preferred
  • Ability to travel throughout U.S. and internationally as needed


  • Merchandise discount for our brands: 50% off regular-priced merchandise at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta, and 30% off at Outlet.
  • One of the most competitive Paid Time Off plans in the industry.*
  • Employees can take up to five “on the clock” hours each month to volunteer at a charity of their choice.*
  • Extensive 401(k) plan with company matching for contributions up to four percent of an employee’s base pay.*
  • Employee stock purchase plan.*
  • Employees receive medical, dental, vision and life insurance.*
  • Employees can apply for tuition reimbursement.*
  • Family care programs.
  • Commuter benefits.
  • Pet Discount Program.

*For eligible employees

Gap Inc. is an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to providing a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. We are committed to recruiting, hiring, training and promoting qualified people of all backgrounds, and make all employment decisions without regard to any protected status. In 2016, Gap Inc. was named one of the Best Places to Work by the Human Rights Campaign for the thirteenth consecutive year and was the sole winner of the Catalyst award for equality in the workplace in 2016.