Keeping in line with the team ethic, Anu introduced us to two of her designers: Kim Colombo, a hip high-fashion designer who grew up in Marin, and Charissa Kinley-Roddis, known as the “Queen of Denim.” Charissa invited us into the jean room, and immediately our eyes grew wide. Many teens are jeans fanatics, and we are no exception. We could never have imagined a jeans room and it was mind-blowing to us. There were jeans lying around everywhere: every style from skinny jeans to boot cut, slim flare, retro flare, trousers, and even jeggings. There were more jean types than we even knew existed. Charissa shared a secret as we marveled at the light jeans: sand paper, she stated, is often used by hand to make jeans lighter. Her love for jeans shows through: “I love the stories that go with my jeans,” she explained. “‘Oh, I wore these when I was in Hong Kong,’ or ‘Wow, I wore these when I was engaged!’”
Kim Colombo, the “Knit Knight,” similarly wowed us with her style and passion. We knew Kim was a designer from the second she walked through the door wearing a vintage cape with sky-high heels, her long wavy hair flowing dramatically down her sides. Kim designs all knit tops—the largest contributing category of all of Gap Inc. Kim’s desk was covered with pictures of styles and kinds of shirts from which she derives inspiration. She also took us into a kind of “inspiration room” where the designers hang different “themes” of clothing — everything from tie-dye craziness, to a more chilled-out “Mothers’ Day” theme. The idea is that every board will speak to the viewer and show its theme clearly, without anyone telling you what it means. That kind of communication through style is how the Old Navy designers find and develop inspiration.