NEW YORK — July 21, 2022 — Xcel Brands, Inc., a media and consumer products company with unparalleled expertise in livestream shopping, today announced that it has appointed Ken Downing as Creative Director of the Halston brand, effective August 1, 2022. Widely known for his tenure as the visionary fashion director of Neiman Marcus, Downing will oversee the evolution of Halston in his new role and serve as the public face and voice of the brand, including through hosting Halston livestream sessions over all screens.
“This appointment is another key step in bringing our vision for Halston to full fruition and in our broad strategy of continuing to build our live-selling ecosystem, supported by well-known and authentic personalities, that enables our brands to connect directly with customers,” said Robert W. D’Loren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xcel. “Ken’s creative vision and expertise in brand building are unparalleled and his magnetic, warm personality has made him one of the most highly recognized and respected people in fashion. We’re extremely pleased to bring Ken on board to guide the creative vision of Halston as we solidify our leadership within the fast-growing retail livestreaming marketplace.”
Xcel Brands is one of the largest apparel and jewelry providers within the interactive TV market and is strategically investing in livestreaming technology platforms and partnerships. The company produces and distributes apparel and accessories under the Halston label, available at premium retailers that include Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s and others, including Macy’s, HSN and more.
“It’s an honor to reenvision and evolve the future of Halston, an iconic American luxury brand that has been a cultural touchstone for more than 50 years,” said Ken Downing, Creative Director of Halston. “Live selling through livestreaming platforms will continue to be a key way for Halston to communicate and engage directly with customers and fans and the momentum Xcel is building through these channels makes this an incredibly exciting time to join the company.”
Downing previously served as Senior Vice President and Fashion Director for Neiman Marcus, where he was credited with revitalizing the retailer’s voice by bringing a freshly relevant and global point of view to the brand. His bold style proclamations, fearless approach to seasonal trends, and close relationships with designers and customers alike helped catapult Neiman Marcus to a position of international fashion leadership, while driving unprecedented sales volumes both in-store and online.
During his tenure at Neiman Marcus, Downing drew on his instinctive knowledge of trends and customer shopping habits, overseeing the fashion direction and image of the company and serving as the public face and voice of the brand. The company launched a series of high-touch customer experience and fashion-centric digital initiatives under his guidance, including real-time runway fashion coverage, VIP events and social media interviews with designers, celebrities, models and influencers, to cement the company’s relevance among the next generation of shoppers.
He also previously served as Chief Creative Officer of international retail developer Triple Five Group Worldwide, for which he helped launch American Dream, a revolutionary 3.3 million square foot shopping, dining and entertainment complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. For Triple Five, he was responsible for reinventing the retail experience for all of the group’s properties through architectural and interior design, advertising and marketing campaigns, public relations, and special events. He joins Halston from Hearst’s HLC Commerce division, where he served as Chief Brand Officer.
Downing holds degrees in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and apparel design from the School of Apparel Design and Development at Seattle Central College. He currently serves on the boards of the FIT Museum, Delivering Good and the With Love Halston Foundation and is a former member of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
Posted: July 21, 2022
Source: Xcel Brands, Inc.