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Last Updated on July 2, 2022
J.Crew is a familiar name to most. This fashion brand was the epitome of laid-back fashion in the 90s and their famous catalogs were an inspiration for all.
Many remember flicking through a J.Crew catalog and seeing a range of young, fit, and tanned models swanning about in seamless swimsuits and basics – their advertising was always essential to their brand image.
Like many brands, J.Crew is still around, but its popularity isn’t where it once was. If you want to explore the history of this 90s brand and where they are now keep on reading!
J.Crew was established a long time ago in 1947, but at this time the brand was known as Popular Merchandise Inc. In 1983 the brand became J.Crew and their first mail catalog was released – the start of an iconic journey!
In 1988 the J.Crew Factory was launched and a year later their first flagship store opened in New York.
As the brand progressed into the 1990s, Jenna Lyons started as an assistant designer at the company and TPG Capital bought an 88% stake in the J.Crew company for approx $500 million.
In the 2000s the brand went on to produce bridal collections, they launched Madewell, and in 2008 Michelle Obama wore J.Crew on The Tonight Show!
The J.Crew style is casual, yet sophisticated. Unassuming, yet bold. On-trend, but not flashy. This team of designers strives to create neutral clothing that fits well and flatters the wearer, not to be shown off. Though this may sound dull to some, in the 1990s many subcultures focused on a stripped-down style, allowing J.Crew to thrive.
J.Crew didn’t specialize in just one product, their brand focus was on creating a wardrobe of high-quality clothes to ensure their customers always had something to wear. Their catalogs include men’s, women’s, and children’s sections. These included denim, swimwear, loungewear, dresses, denim, suits, shoes, and accessories too.[amazon bestseller=”j.crew” items=”5″]
While J.Crew has a team of talented designers, they’re not a luxury fashion brand. This brand sits at the lower price point and offers an accessible range of clothes. The brand does use good materials, but when compared to the standards of big fashion houses like Gucci they don’t compare!
This isn’t a bad thing though, as not every fashion brand needs to be “designer” and have catwalk collections to be successful. J.Crew built a name and a fan following without sending excess on yearly runway shows.
Many have the image of outdated J.Crew catalogs in their mind when this brand is mentioned, but the brand is still thriving. They’ve moved with the times and embraced youth trends in 2020s. Their style is still a traditional preppy American style, but it’s reinterpreted for the modern audience.
With a diverse range of models and a put-together social media strategy, this brand has established itself as a modern fashion retailer.
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J. Crew has always been known for creating good-quality clothing that will last for a long time. But, how good is the quality of their clothes?
J Crew T-Shirts
When it comes to t-shirts, J.Crew nearly always uses 100% cotton. This ensures the top will be breathable, soft, and comfortable to wear. If you need a reliable shirt that will survive for years, J.Crew is a good retailer to trust.
J Crew Suits
J.Crew was known for providing suits, blazers, and formalwear for both men and women. While these options are of good quality, many of the items are made from polyester and other synthetic fibers. If you want a life-long high-quality option, you may want to shop elsewhere.
J Crew Shorts
J. Crew’s clothing style has always leaned towards the preppy side, and a popular preppy item for them is their men’s shorts range! While they offer options for both men and women, their men’s mercantile shorts are a popular 99% cotton option for the summer months.
J Crew Swim
Another key clothing type for this brand is swimwear. Popularised by the photography in their catalogs, the J.Crew swim range was a must-buy for any summer holidays. These pieces always fit well and flatter the body too.
In 2021, J.Crew has partnered with Tracee Ellis Ross in their “Make a Scene” campaign. This targets a diverse audience and proves that J. Crew is making attempts to shift the preppy/conservative image of their band. In the past, the brand has been spotted on Michelle Obama, Megan Markle, Reese Witherspoon, and more.
This fashion brand is a fast-fashion brand, as the store constantly updates their selection with new designs and you can mass-purchase from them. The retailer mass produces clothing constantly, proving they’re not taking the sustainable or slow fashion route.
J.Crew has tried to cultivate a green image over recent years, but minimal digging will show you that the brand isn’t that sustainable. With a few eco-friendly fabrics in use, the brand hasn’t made any significant effort to reduce emissions, water usage, or chemicals.
The supply chain used by J.Crew isn’t certified by any labor standards, creating more questions about their ethics. Overall the Good On You index gives the brand a “Not Good Enough” score.
J.Crew is nostalgic for many that embraced its clothes in the 1990s, however, today their attempts to keep up with trends isn’t enough! Though they still produce flattering garments, the brand isn’t making enough progress in terms of ethical labor or sustainable practices.
Are you a fan of J.Crew? Let us know what you think in the comments!