Let’s talk about this whole J. Crew mess.
No really – let’s discuss it. Bloggers are addressing the issue on Twitter, but because most of their websites revolve around lighter topics like recent trends or must buys, I haven’t seen it circulating as an opinion piece on the actual blogs. And I know we ALL have an opinion on it – but it seems like we are skirting this issue in the hopes that J. Crew will just magically rebound without any work.
Incase you need the background: J. Crew is floundering, and has been for awhile. Here’s some information here that could help fill in about how I personally have been looking at the situation. The short of it: I think that realistically, there is a larger consumer dilemma blocking the success of J. Crew. As a brand, the prices are unrealistic for the people that frequent their stores. It’s not quite a high end brand (in some cases yes, but in others, not at all) and it would seem that on the back end, they are trying to run it as such. It’s become a manifestation of what Jenna Lyons wants and wears, which is simply just too much haute couture for the mass public.
J. Crew decided to transition in a new head of women’s design, plucking the replacement straight from their more successful sister brand, Madewell. This somewhat lateral move makes no sense to me. Madewell, in my eyes, is completely different from J. Crew. Obviously Somsack Sikhounmuong, the previous Madewell head designer and now new employee of J. Crew, knows what he’s doing. He catapulted Madwell to a mid-level of success. I don’t think Madewell is as well known as J. Crew, but nevertheless, its sales are better.
— Jamie (@fashionnewcomer) June 15, 2015
The problem with bringing in someone who has spent the past few years delving deep into one specific type of design (the laid-back, denim based Madewell vibe) is that said person might have a hard time transitioning into the classic look J. Crew once had.
Apparently, J. Crew’s next move is to open up more Factory stores, it’s outlet counterpart. Although in theory a great idea, it’s not going to change what’s going on at the root of the brand. I consider Factory to be completely different than the main branches of J. Crew – and I certainly do not shop there as much as I shop at J. Crew.
I personally think Jenna Lyons has to go. Currently, she’s the face of the brand, the root of the brand, and as New York Times said, “even if she isn’t responsible for shaping every garment” she still has some role in this whole debacle. To change the brand entirely means she just has to leave. I have a suspicious feeling that her version of J. Crew does not match what the world wants from it, and thus, as long as she is in charge, the brand will head in a direction that is just not accommodating to everyday lifestyles.
You might be thinking, who am I to make these comments? But in the same vein, who am I to not make these comments? I’m a customer, and every person who spends any money at J. Crew should be someone that the brand seeks to reel back in and impress.
Where I stand: I still go into J. Crew, I still look at their clothes, and on occasion, I still buy things. But mostly only from the sale rack — everything else is unreasonably priced, or given the state of the store, I can just assume it will go on sale eventually.
Where do you stand on the issue? I’m truly curious, so tweet or comment below.