Since Jenna Lyons has helmed the transformation of preppy-chic J.Crew, the company has seen a definitive change in its vision (not to mention consumer popularity). Lyons has taken the company from bland to fashion-forward, making it a favorite brand for everyone from the savvy shopper to First Lady Michelle Obama. But it seems like too much change isn’t always a good thing – Mickey Drexler, the company’s CEO, has recently admitted that perhaps the retailer has gone “too far” in terms of styling.
Forbes writer Chris DeRose published a personal essay that recounts his wife’s customer service grievances with J.Crew. His wife, a stay-at-home-mom and veteran J.Crew shopper, wrote an email to the CEO stating that she was “so disheartened and disappointed that you are leaving your core values and styling and abandoning your loyal customers.”
After DeRose’s essay was published, Drexler actually called the author’s wife for feedback. While the CEO maintained that it’s necessary to evolve the brand, he also stated “in the company’s desire to embrace change, the team also shared the view that some of the styling had perhaps strayed too far from the classics and brand messaging for which J. Crew had become known.”
The brand’s homepage features mixed prints, office-ready dress shorts, peter pan collars, and vivid pops of color – a hit with the young professional crowd for sure, but it’s easy to see why more traditional shoppers would be put off by the retailer’s current styles.
Drexler followed up with an email, saying “We are on it for sure,” he wrote to Mrs. DeRose. “I hope you see a difference this fall.”
Does this mean a change in aesthetic for the company across the board, or simply a reincarnation of some of its founding styles? While we may not know what the answer is until the fall line rolls out, we’re curious: what do you think of J.Crew’s style evolution? Are you into the newer trends, or do you favor their understated pieces?