Gigi Hadid On Her New Brand Guest In Residence, Disrupting The Cashmere Industry, And How Motherhood Changed Her

Supermodel and fashion icon Gigi Hadid has added a new job to her extensive resume: founder. She’s now the creative director and founder of her first brand, Guest in Residence, a cashmere and knitwear company launching today, September 7th.

Offering a wide range of knitwear like beanies, sweaters, pants, and polos, Guest in Residence aims to bridge the gap between overpriced cashmere and accessible fashion that lasts for generations to come, “Cashmere is transformative,” says Hadid. “But there’s a seriousness that can surround cashmere and luxury.” Guest in Residence is the model’s plan to disrupt that, creating pieces that she calls “funky classics” – heritage silhouettes, in joyful colorways, at an affordable price point.

The brand offers three collections of knits: core, seasonal, and drops. The core collection is the brand’s essential items – timeless and non-trend styles for your everyday wardrobe, “A core collection is something that I’ve always wanted as a shopper. Sometimes you love an outfit and would want it in 10 different colors, but then it gets discontinued, and you never see it again. My core collection is a nod to that. Your favorites will always be here, but we’ll also give you new things to wear in different ways.” True to its mission, 90% of the core collection is under $400. Seasonal styles release quarterly with a three-month lifespan, and drops are reserved for special collaborations and limited editions.

The model started teasing her new venture a few weeks ago via Instagram, giving her fans a behind-the-scenes look into her new Manhattan office space. One image shows Hadid sifting through color swatches alongside members of her team, fashion stylist and editor Gabriela Karefa-Johnson and knitwear designer CJ Kim (formally of The Row and Helmut Lang), “Color to me is very instinctual. I’d sit on my office floor with every swatch and see what felt right. A lot of my process is sitting with the team, closing my eyes, and embodying our customer, going to the places they would go, and what they would see,” the designer says of her creative practice.

Her favorite creation is the Stealth Cardigan, a hybrid piece inspired by summer-to-fall transition weather. The design was proportionally made to hide under a jacket as a layering piece, or could be worn as a top with a hook-and-eye clasp. “Everyone can find something in this collection that’s a good investment for their wardrobe. I want to encourage people to be more mindful consumers and find things to wear in 100 different ways.” Guest in Residence will be sold direct to consumer and exclusively on their website, GuestinResidence.com.

While in Milan for fashion week in 2019, Hadid sparked a curiosity for cashmere, “I wanted to know how two companies on the same scale can sell what they call 100% cashmere sweaters, but one’s $3,000 and one’s $90.” After touring various cashmere houses, she discovered that the industry universally uses the same materials, but some houses use short fibers of 100% cashmere to sell at a lower price with lower quality, while the more expensive brands use long fibers and upsell their products dramatically. Short fibers fall apart faster, but long fibers are just financially unattainable. It was in that moment that she found her niche. She would take a luxury material and make it reasonable, exclusive, and something to be passed on for generations, “I’ve noticed that people feel that because cashmere is this luxury material, it’s scary to take care of. We really want to jump into that. A big part of Guest in Residence is the educational aspect. It’s not about people buying more. It’s about saving up for one sweater and learning how to take care of it so it lives with you through amazing things in life. You’ll pass it on to someone you love in 10 years. That excites me.”

Guest in Residence works with high-quality, long fibers to prevent pilling and create products of the best quality. They make their knitwear using tight-tension knitting, a process that ensures a garment’s longevity through weight and texture, all while delivering a buttery-soft hand feel. Lifespan was a crucial element of Hadid’s design standards. She still has cashmere pieces that were passed down from her parents, a significant influence on the brand’s ethos, “We’re all guests in residents of the clothes that we have,”she says. “They have a life before us. Hopefully, if we take care of them, they’re good quality, and we invest in good things, they have a life after us. We’re guests in residents of our own bodies, the world, and the houses we live in. It all ties back to taking care of what you have and planning a future for it.”

Starting a new brand has been what the globally recognized model calls a natural progression of her career. “I think people maybe have an idea of what being a model is, but if you look around and listen daily, you can learn much more than modeling in this industry,” she says. “It’s an amazing world where many things come together. It gave me the building blocks, whether that’s learning time management or how to be a better leader.” She’s no stranger to designing, having collaborated on collections for Maybelline, Messika, and four seasons for Tommy Hilfiger. When it came to starting something on her own, she was adamant about waiting until she felt the right fit, “I silenced a lot of pressure around starting my own business because it could have been “the right time.” I knew that if I couldn’t put the right energy, love, and personal time into it, and if it wasn’t something that naturally came to me, it would feel forced.”

Her right time came in 2021, after welcoming her first child Khai. “When I was pregnant, I started to put a lot more importance on finding this new path in my life that would be a manageable way to live, to be the best mom, work, and do all these things,” she says of her new life as a mom. “I now have this whole new experience of going into the office with the same people. I know what to expect. It’s not about what I look like every day. If I’m a tired mom because I’ve been up all night, it’s ok. I get to go to the office and have a creative space that’s not on the other side of the planet.”

Guest in Residence is just one of Hadid’s many projects to look forward to this fall. The model will also co-host season 2 of Netflix’s hit show, Next in Fashion, alongside Queer Eye’s resident style expert, Tan France. There is currently no set air date for the season release.

Shop Guest in Residence here.

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