Thursday, August 21, 2014

Have You Seen the J.Crew Catalogue?

Daphne Javitch in J.Crew and Dries Van Noten (Image via J.Crew blog)
I received the fall J.Crew catalog in the mail yesterday, a delivery that seems both a novelty and a rarity in this day in age, especially for a brand that pioneered the use of Pinterest as a marketing tool. At first I thought it odd that such a technology-embracing retailer like J.Crew would still send out a quarterly print display of its products, but then I studied the catalogue and I realized that J.Crew once again wins at being cutting edge.

The J.Crew catalogue as it stands now resembles more of a fashion magazine than a clothing catalogue. It starts with a note from creative director Jenna Lyons, similar to how fashion magazines begin each issue with a note from the editor. Turn the page, pat the bunny (as my 6th grade social studies teacher used to say) and you'll see editorial spreads that look similar to those found in the latter halves of Vogue and Elle. Each features creative-type females in their homes and on the street, going to fashion shows or reading books with their kids, wearing J.Crew clothes paired with items of their own. For example, a pair of pants photographed in the feature looked familiar. I knew I had seen them before in a non-J.Crew context, and my clothing-cluttered thoughts quickly reminded me that they were Rosie Assoulin and sold at a price point that carries one or two more zeros than that of J.Crew Collection. An interesting innovation as far as clothing catalogues go, whose primary purpose is to sell their own product.

Surely, editorial creativity isn't the only reason for J.Crew's new quasi-fashion magazine. Perhaps by pairing their styles with high-end pieces, Jenna and Mickey are trying to further distance J.Crew from the 3-5-7-inch chinos of its past to the jacquard and pajama trousers of its future. And by photographing successful creative types in their glamorous lives, they're also trying to deemphasize the mainstream American image that J.Crew has historically portrayed.

Anyway, to quote another teacher from my middle school years, what say you?

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