Times are A-changing Partie Un
The last 2 days have been huge in Fashion. First of all, Jenna Lyons has stepped down from J. Crew, after working for/with them for 26 years. 26!!! That's like a teacher's career!!!
Sorry for all the exclamation points, it's just really a shock for me. First of all, Lyons has started at J. Crew simply drawing mens rugby shirts, right off finishing Parsons. Slowly, she rose to becoming their president and ambassador, and pretty much the face of the brand. Jenna Lyons has a style I admire, a very strong source of inspiration to the way I think my outfits. Now my sister is a fan of the J. Crew sleeve roll because, who isn't?
Fashion houses that last for decades, and that are not ruled by a family member (like Fendi, or Prada, or Versace) often have artistic directors who get inspired by the past, as to keep the vision of the house. Although the clothes, shapes and fabric change, it is important for a Givenchy to remain a Givenchy, from 1960 to 2017. What was interesting with J. Crew was that you could read and feel Lyons style in the collections. Who doesn't remember J. Crew Spring/Summer of 2013? It had Lyons written all over it: neon colours as staples, preppy classics with a twist, sequins, chic-casual. It was perfect. It was always perfect. Even when not being the creator of J. Crew, her image remained what the brand was, meant, represented, and a J. Crew was a J. Crew, because it was also a Jenna. (Jenna Crew?) But I know now, consumers are way more interested in fast fashion than in classic pieces, and I know J. Crew was in a major debt. I guess they were not able to get out of the hole, even with Lyons being a powerful figure in fashion. They recently stopped selling their wedding collection (which is sad, because I really wanted a J.Crew wedding dress), so I guess changing president was the next best thing.
Jenna Lyons was a strong woman in fashion, a leader, and someone I looked up to. For her, longevity was important, and although I think it is important to give space to younger people, I believe we need time in order to create stronger fashion, stronger art, stronger exhibitions. It takes time to understand something top to bottom, and to incarnate something too. I think J. Crew was J. Crew because of all the time she spent there, not only because of who she was. She could feel and live societal change while working in a fashion house, which I think is important to keep fashion up to date, while keeping its vision. You understand the vision of the brand the more time you are working there, but you are not insensitive to what's happening around you, and you want your customers to wear that, you want your collections to accompany your clients in their life, their successes, political scare and so on.
I know Jenna will be working elsewhere, because her sense of style is undeniable, but it really is the end of an era. I wonder how J. Crew will turn out after that. The good news is Somsack Sikhounmuong will take over her design duties, and he's a MOC so that's cool. Sikhounmuong used to be at Madewell, which he was able to turn around and increase sales before being hired at J. Crew. I know he'll know what to do with J. Crew, since he's been there since 2001. He too has been in the House for quite sometime, and I'm sure he will be very in tune with the times, while maintain J.Crew's vision, giving it Madewell's success. We'll see. Anyway I am glad to see him take the lead for now, we need more POCs in Fashion!