Powerful Career Advice From the Women Behind One of the Largest Retailers

While it’s true we’re in the business of style, we’re equally as interested in the cool things our favorite women in cool clothes are up to. So when it comes to our workwear wardrobes, what better way to get inspired than by taking a look at the lives of some of fashion’s most successful women? That’s the idea behind our #hipowered series, in which we’ll be profiling chic professionals from every corner of our industry, from our own Who What Wear team to top Old Navy executives to leaders paving the way in creative startups.

The opportunity to pick the brains of executives at one of the world’s biggest fashion brands doesn’t come along every day, so you can imagine that when the occasion arose to do just that, I couldn’t book a flight fast enough. One quick trip up to San Francisco later, I found myself in the lobby of Old Navy’s headquarters. The brightly colored office was buzzing with energy (maybe because of the exciting work going on upstairs; maybe because it was lunchtime). Either way, I was eager to meet with Sonia Syngal and Sarah Holme, the company’s CEO and senior VP of design, respectively.

My nerves were immediately quelled once they walked into the room: Both women were warm and eager to share their wealth of knowledge (which, for the record, they have quite an abundance of). Syngal graduated from Stanford with a master’s in engineering, worked in the automotive industry for over six years, and held various positions at Gap Inc. before becoming CEO of Old Navy, the largest of the corporations six brands. Holme, on the other hand, designed for several popular brands in the U.S. and the UK before starting her current role. Below, I chat with Syngal and Holme about their careers, fashion, and Old Navy’s new Power Jean, the straight-leg silhouette inspired by powerful women.

Shop more office-approved denim styles at Old Navy.