J. Crew Invades the UK

Dozens of shivering British fashion bloggers, TV personalities, and socialites snake down London’s Regent Street, waiting patiently to get into the Nov. 6 opening night party for the J.Crew flagship store. Inside, bearded men like James Middleton, brother of Kate and Pippa, browse skinny ties and shrunken blazers. Women in full skirts and crop tops paw through tables of pastel cashmere. Everyone’s hair is chicly disheveled, as are their teeth. On the stairs up to the second level of the 17,000-square-foot space, the biggest of the three J.Crew stores that opened in London in November, two partyers pause. “Oh! There’s Mickey and Jenna,” one whispers reverentially, pointing at J.Crew Chief Executive Officer Millard “Mickey” Drexler and Creative Director and President Jenna Lyons. He’s playing town mayor in a navy blazer and a white button-down. She’s in sparkly green pumps and her signature oversize black glasses. There’s a photo booth and Champagne cocktails, and it’s all very fabulous and also kind of funny, because it’s just J.Crew, after all.

Businessweek has a fun profile of Mickey Drexler, Jenna Lyons, and J. Crew this week, as they just opened three stores in London. Though fair warning, Brits: the prices are even more jacked up over there than they are here. (Drexler: “Opening international stores enormously helps your domestic business. Because then customers will buy even more when they come to America, because it’s cheaper.”)

In other U.K. commerce news: you lucky bastards can now buy marshmallows with your Instagram photos printed on them.

Photo: ikrichter


8 Comments / Post A Comment

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

Every week i receive an email from J. Crew suggesting that I buy a tuxedo. I assumed this was just because they recognized my natural aristocratic bearing, but maybe they were trying to get me ready to mingle with British socialites. Oh well, missed opportunity.

highjump (#39)

You can take them United Kingdom. I am real mad at Jcrew right now. First they refused to sign the Bangladesh Accord to manufacture their expensive shit in slightly less terrible conditions (which you know they can afford to do) and now they’re partnering with Teach for America aka the unsafe low-quality corporatization of public education.

A bunch of cool British and European brands signed the Bangladesh Accord, why can’t they come here and Jcrew can go DIAF like a garment worker. http://www.bangladeshaccord.org/signatories/

(Rereading this comment kind of seems crazed but I am SO MAD about my inability to buy even barely ethical clothes on a teacher’s salary in the US right now)

Meaghano (#529)

@highjump Oh yeah I saw that. Neither did the Gap or Wal-Mart. So fucked.

highjump (#39)

@Meaghano I actually participated in an action outside of a Gap when this was all going down bc I love their really skinny pant and wish I could keep buying them. Self interested activism is the most passionate activism.

@highjump Where DO you get your ethical clothes from?? I’ve found some niche stores like One Mango Tree but no place to find work appropriate clothes or winter wear! For some reason everything I find is really summery.

highjump (#39)

@polka dots vs stripes H&M is my go-to place because they signed the freaking Bangladesh accord and they’ve always been good on copyright issues bc of stricter European laws. And they’re not $$$. American Apparel for basics even though their CEO is a skeezeball. Land’s End improved their manufacturing after a 2011 scandal. I also buy quite a bit from Express because I used to work there and there is one close to me and one of the reasons they broke away form Limited Brands was because of their production practices. But, to be honest, the Express stuff is mostly me lying to myself and they’re probably not much better than Gap. I also tell myself that anything I buy at the downtown DC Macy’s is a wash because they’re unionized.

@highjump This is belated but – thank you! I like H&M especially, I’ll make sure to go there more often.

I have similar :) / :( feelings about American Apparel

catalania (#2,285)

HA I see how they snuck that British-people-have-bad-teeth joke in there. You know English people mock you guys for having freakishly fluorescent alien teeth, right? (Fair comment on the hair, however.)

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