If there’s a Neo-Prep revival afoot, don’t expect J. Crew to be part of it. Unless of course the trend gets really big. After all, they’re in the fashion business.
Recently new CEO James Brett, formerly of West Elm, told the Wall Street Journal, “We can’t be all New England preppy. Not everyone wants to look like that.” This prompted Put This On to write a post entitled “A New J. Crew Is Coming And It’s Probably Going To Suck.” While the new direction won’t be fully visible for another season or two, you can see that the website is already looking a bit more generic than usual.
… these changes are understandable, but not very inspiring. J. Crew was at its best when it had a voice. Frank Muytjens didn’t invent Americana, but he introduced many men to things such as chambray shirts, Fair Isle sweaters, and better fitting suits, not to mention a host of admirable third-party brands such as Alden and Barbour. J. Crew also used to be a solid, mid-priced brand for value-focused customers who simply wanted to look good without paying out the nose. Maybe it’s not possible anymore to support a company the size of J. Crew with this strategy, but does the world need another generic, ultra-affordable brand hawking the same business causal basics?
Here’s what the brand looks like for fall 2018, with this trio looking like an indie-rock band of some unspecified period in the past few decades:
And a reminder of the salt-watered-down East Coast style it once exemplified. Can’t believe not everyone wants to look like this… — CC