Karen Millen’s chief creative officer, Gemma Metheringham, will leave the brand in July after 17 years to rejoin former employer Next as creative director of its Label business.
Metheringham has worked at Next twice in the past. She first joined the retailer as men’s knitwear designer in 1989, following a year in the same role at Marks & Spencer. In 1991 she was promoted to assistant design manager.
In 1993, she left Next and became design manager at Richards, part of the Sears Group. Three years later, in 1996, she rejoined Next as head of womenswear design.
Metheringham’s tenure at Karen Millen began in 1999, when she took up a position as design director. She was promoted to creative director in 2006 and became joint managing director in 2009.
She held this role for three years, before she was named chief creative officer in 2012.
Her colleague, Ainsley Walker, head of design trend at Karen Millen, will now become interim design director and lead the creative team.
Neil McCausland, chairman of Karen Millen, said: “I would like to thank Gemma for her incredible service to Karen Millen. Her passion for quality, design and craftsmanship has helped to define our brand, and build Karen Millen into an international success, with collections worn by women all over the world.
“Her work to evolve the brand, collections and store environment over the last few years has been a particular achievement. She has built up a formidably talented creative team and I’m excited to see their work as they build on this success and continue Karen Millen’s journey.”
Metheringham added: “After 17 incredible years it’s the right time for me to take on a new challenge.
“During my time at Karen Millen I have been lucky to work with some very talented people both inside and outside the brand and I would like to thank all those involved in making my time here such an amazing experience.
“Knowing the talent and the energy within the business, I have no doubt that Karen Millen will continue to grow and prosper.”
Next Label is the platform through which Next sells third-party brands, such as Oasis, Warehouse and Monsoon.