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08-04-2005
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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J. Crew - Behind the Scenes
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
The Designers Behind J. Crew
By Marc Karimzadeh

NEW YORK — ...gushed Jenna Lyons, the retailer’s senior vice president of women’s design, ...about Mickey [Drexler, J. Crew’s chairman and chief executive officer]. He’s been pushing us to push the envelope.”
After Drexler joined the company from Gap Inc. in 2003, he and president Jeff Pfeifle, whom he brought along, wasted no time in injecting the brand with anew sense of luxury and cool. For the last three seasons, J. Crew noticeably has been updating its collections and improving its colors, the quality of its fabrics, the design and overall fit. While the company isn’t walking away from American classics such as chinos, button-down shirts and ribbon belts, it has started to pepper select boutiques with luxurious items. These days, a customer passing J. Crew’s thresholds is as likely to find tailored cashmere coats and suits, intricately embroidered pants and heavily beaded tops as the classics.

Drexler relied on Lyons, a J. Crew veteran who has been with the brand for 15 years, to oversee the design makeover.

Lyons is a downtown type who appears a little disheveled, but in a studied way. She mixes and matches new pieces with vintage ones that are a little frayed around the edges. On this day, for instance, she wears torn faded jeans adorned with pins she must have used while tweaking a sample. In many ways, she is the perfect incarnation of the J. Crew woman for whom she designs.
“I like things that get better with age,” she said. “We have always focused on something that is going to look good even after you have had it a little bit. Maybe it is frayed a little on the edges, maybe it is starting to wash down a little too much. I actually think that that looks good. That, to me, is classic.”
“Mickey really pushed for quality and not just quality of design, but also the quality of how the customer experiences the catalogue, the way you experience the stores, what kind of sales people there are or what the sales people are wearing. On every level, he was pushing the quality angle.”
To that end, the designer was given more upscale resources to work with, from Italian and Scottish mills and print specialists to Indian beading experts. These days, J. Crew makes no secret of the fact that cashmeres and wools originate at Loro Piana, prints are developed by Ratti and beading is done by hand by Shameeza.


The renewed focus on quality and design also extends to J. Crew’s men’s wear. Todd Snyder, vice president of men’s design, joined the company a year and a half ago from Old Navy. He started his career at J. Crew 12 years ago, but left to work at Ralph Lauren before joining Old Navy. Snyder updated J. Crew’s suits with Loro Piana wools and real Harris tweeds. From a design point of view, he lifted the armhole, narrowed the sleeve-head and slimmed the waist for a modern silhouette.

With more upscale pieces also comes new price points, but Pfeifle stressed that prices haven’t drastically changed; they have just widened as the collections grew.
“Some of the price points have gone up, but the value has gone up, too,”...

...the company plans to add jewelry in select stores, with casual coral, wood and beaded classifications. ...


excerpt from wwd...

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Last edited by softgrey; 08-04-2005 at 01:45 AM.
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08-04-2005
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here's a link to their site....

http://www.jcrew.com/catalog/category.jhtml?id=cat69799

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08-04-2005
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thanks for that... i jcrew..

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08-04-2005
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now that I think about it, J. Crew definitely has gotten better. I used to think they were almsot too simple for my style.

That or I've gotten old at a young age.

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08-04-2005
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hmm... i think i like this idea... j crew has always been too new england prep, suburban mom, plain old clothes for me...

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08-04-2005
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SCOOP has also joined forces with J Crew to produce a line of shirts for men.
Its actually doing quiet well.

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08-04-2005
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Thanks for posting Softie... I just had an interview with J.Crew on Wednesday.. it was very promising, I think.

This article makes me excited!

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09-04-2005
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Yeah! Thanks for the post Softie! I like J.Crew.

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09-04-2005
  9
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you're welcome brian, luna, happiness...

i like j crew a lot...i get a lot of basics there...
their cashmere's this season were so nice...great colours...!!

and i do think that the quality is excellent...
i have their stuff for years...

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06-05-2007
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scenester
 
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J C is ok. Their cashmere is cheap....however I have the impression that they get holes right away. (you get what you pay for). I bought a Malo cashemere sweater...much pricier, but overall great. So far no holes and I have abused wearing it.

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07-05-2007
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Bel
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I'm not exactly the cashmere expert but I have two cashmere items, a hat and a sweater, which I think are great. I don't know if the prices are fair but it ends up on sale often. (And that's not an "I don't know" as in "I really mean they're not fair," I really don't know.)

Does anybody have a cotton/cashmere blend from them? How does it compare?

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08-05-2007
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Cashmere is a very unique fiber. The right quality may last for years and will look great until the end. My problem with the J Crew cashmere is that its too thin and too weak. All my sweaters from J Crew had holes within the year. ( Note: I dr clean them often and keep them in a cedar box). I bought a whole bunch of sweaters from J Crew becasue of the Loro Piana deal, their colors as well. I have learned the expensive way that "you pay what you get for". Loro Piana is a top cashmere mill, however I am sure there are qualities in between the qualities offered, and I would safely assume that JCrew shoppers are getting the cheap colorful kind and that is why we can purchase cashmere sweaters for less than 100 USD.

I feel that Banana Republic's cashmere is better however their wool content is higher, although they swear its pure cashmere. I mean better in terms of long lasting.

Before cashmere became so popular I bought cashmere at Bon Genie, Geneva Switzerland.....these sweaters last a long time, they are 300 +, but over the years you will be happy you chose quality over cheap cashmere.

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