Creative Design Officer Jenna Lyons leaves J. Crew

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Yesterday the Business of Fashion reported that Jenna Lyons was leaving J. Crew as Creative Director after 26 years.  That’s a lifetime in the fickle fashion business.  Ms. Lyons had lead the J. Crew design lines from casual chic to upscale designs and then to widespread popularity when First Lady Michelle Obama started wearing J. Crew.

So what happened? It seems after several quarters of declining revenue and some customers complaining after rising prices and declining quality, J. Crew felt it was time for a change.

“Jenna and I got together and we both agreed it was time for a change,” J.Crew chief executive Millard “Mickey” Drexler told BoF in an exclusive interview. “That being said, she’s got plans to do other things. It’s been a great run. There’s a lot of mutual respect between Jenna and me.”

J.Crew women’s head of design Somsack Sikhounmuong, who successfully helmed Madewell’s casual boho chic , will step into Ms. Lyons spot at J. Crew.

J Crew's Jenna Lyons

J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons.

Will this talent remix help J. Crew revenues surge up instead of continuing downward? In my opinion, and those of other J. Crew customers via Twitter posts, it will only help J Crew is they adjust their prices and increase the quality of their offerings.  In the era of fast fashion lead by low priced retailers H&M, Uniqlo and Zara,  J. Crew had a hard time competing.

Will  J. Crew continue to show big over the top statement necklaces, bridal jumpsuits and resort type fashion collections?  I think those will go with Ms. Lyons.   Look for a return to lower priced preppy style. We’ll see if that brings back those J. Crew customers who haven’t shopped the brand recently.
In a press statement, J. Crew explains that “Ms. Lyons will remain with J.Crew as a creative advisor until the end of her current contract, which expires in December 2017.”  J. Crew notes that  more changes are ahead are they wish to  focus ” on sales productivity with new merchandising and marketing initiatives, which are expected to enhance customer loyalty and extend brand reach.  Several other key operational initiatives are underway to position the Company to optimize its global sourcing and supply chain, with continued reviews of all aspects of the business to drive further efficiencies in the year ahead.

Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.