In early 2020, Gigi Hadid was living two lives. By day she was walking the runways for the likes of Versace, Chanel, and more, but in her spare time the model was diving into the world of cashmere, meeting with manufacturers and learning the nuances of the fabric. The goal? Finding the perfect partners to start her own line of luxurious yet approachable knits. Of course, when the pandemic hit, plans were put on temporary hold as life took a few twists and turns—namely motherhood—but this fall Hadid is ready to make her fashion design debut. Titled Guest in Residence, the direct-to-consumer line features affordable knitwear in a slew of colors and styles, all with the purpose of creating sustainable, luxurious pieces meant to be passed down through the generations.
“I went through a few different names but Guest in Residence was the one that intrigued me the most,” Hadid says from her downtown New York design studio. “We are all guests in residence of the clothes we own. They have a life before us, and, hopefully if we take care of them, they will have a life after us.”
After a career working with other labels like Frankies Bikinis and Tommy Hilfiger on capsule collections, Hadid’s decision to start designing felt like a natural jump. Unlike those collaborations, however, Guest in Residence is the first project that is truly her own. “I’ve had so many people approach me to start a line, but I didn’t want to do it unless I came up with something genuine, so I thought about what my niche could be.” she explains, remembering two cashmere items in particular that deeply affected her when she first moved to New York City. “My mom gave me a gray Ralph Lauren sweater while my dad gave me a scarf and cardigan. They were the highest-quality items in my closet at that point, and I wore them with everything. I loved them and [knew] the importance of taking care of them.”
It’s no surprise, then, that one of Hadid’s favorite pieces in her debut line is a one-button closure cardigan that she nicknames The Incognito. Made for in-between weather, the sweater is thin enough to be worn under a leather jacket for extra warmth but also doesn’t detract from your outfit. “It’s a cozy layer that you don’t necessarily want anyone to see, but one you can also wear it on its own as a top, clasped close,” she says. “That’s how I’ve worn it on summer nights.”
While this styling might nod to her Gen-Z fans, Guest in Residence is meant for all ages. There are classic scarves, long sleeve sweaters, and robes in an array of hues like turmeric yellow, cherry red, and bubblegum pink. They make up what Hadid calls the Core Collection, a group of styles that’ll never change, save for making them lighter or heavier depending on the season. “If you love our crewneck and you already have it in camel and navy, then later it’ll be made in canary yellow or hot pink. It’s a fun way for people to know that they can always come back to us,” explains Hadid. To round out the line, there will be trend-driven drops, starting first with workwear-inspired pieces such as trucker jackets, jumpsuits, and cargo pants. “They are important to me to show my creativity,” says the model-turned-designer, who also plans on collaborating with artists and other brands in the future. “I want people to have fun with these special, funky collections.”
Speaking with her, it’s evident that Hadid has thought at length about creating a brand with intention and longevity. And even though she acknowledges it’s a risk to put herself out there in this way, she feels strongly that her message will resonate: “We’re coming out of a time in which people have pressure on them to have an extensive throwaway wardrobe because of social media, so I want to give simple pieces that can be styled in many ways. I hope this line inspires everyone to invest in a sustainable wardrobe in the sense that you are paying attention to what you’re buying and you genuinely love it because it means something to you.”