J.Crew’s customer base may not be shopping, but they sure are loyal. WWD reports that the retailer’s sales continue to fall, albeit by a narrower margin — the cashmere slinger saw a net loss of $8 million in the first three months of 2016, compared to $462.4 million in the first quarter of 2015. All the while, its weary devotees are still watching from the rafters, as vocal and monitoring as ever. Fans of the Gilded Age of J.Crew have thrown open letters, websites and even hashtags at the problem — the problem being the brand’s heightened prices, movement away from classic designs, and the decline in quality of its fabrics and tailoring.
Among these forlorn fans is Belle, the fashionista behind Capitol Hill Style, who is spearheading a tough-love social media-based uprising to #ReviveJCrew, encouraging shoppers to air their grievances with the brand using the aforementioned hashtag.
“Almost every reader who shopped at J.Crew in the 2006-2010 era talks about how much better the quality was then,” she shared on her blog. “Their evidence is anecdotal, but if a buyer feels that their seven-year-old suit is better made than the one they bought last year, they’re going to shop elsewhere. If we want ‘fast fashion,’ we’ll shop at H&M.”
Another unhappy customer even went to the trouble of creating a website entitled “How to Fix J.Crew” (peruse it at your leisure). Bloggers at J.Crew Aficionada and JCrew is My Fave Store now use their erstwhile fan pages to offer the brand constructive (if sometimes terse) criticism. To wit: J.Crew Aficionada publishes a recurring series known as “Looking to Vent With J.Crew,” a place for the aggrieved “to share not-so-stellar experiences with J.Crew” and heal. Two years back, Jenni Avins penned a plea to Jenna Lyons &. Co., asking that they revive the brand’s classic one-piece, you know, that “simple, sexy, and sporty [swimsuit]…with straight, tank-top-style shoulder straps that swoop like the letter U.” Her words did not fall on deaf ears.
Perhaps it’s this well-founded sense that a certain black-rimmed glasses wearing someone out there is listening that keeps bloggers venting. Even J.Crew chairman and chief executive officer Millard Drexler has gone on record encouraging customers to send along advice and feedback via email — firstname.lastname@example.org, go nuts.
My first #JCrewEverything day in a while! . #summerstyle #summerfashion #currentlywearing #blondieesquire #lookoftheday #stylechallenge #styleoftheday #stylediaries #fashiondiaries #stylist #fashionstylist #sdstylebloggers #mystyle #casualchic #igblogger #iamtheeverygirl #outfitpost #ootd #realoutfitgram #luxurybrands #luxuryfashion #preppystyle #stylegetssocial #sandiegostyle #deanststyle #jcrew #jcrewfactory #jcrewaddict #nofilter
Conversely, some glass-half-full bloggers like Kaitlin Barnett of The Conservative Prep and Jenn French of Blondie, Esquire are using the hashtag to celebrate the brand’s recent progress. “Now I’m seeing a return back to the more classic styles. This fall I started to see more of what used to be, like shoes that are made in Italy and classic styles,” holds Barnett.
Our insider source at J.Crew holds that the company is “striving for a better balance of classics versus novelty and reinvesting more heavily in premium quality fabrics.” All we can say is that we, along with Barnett and the rest of the #ReviveJCrew movement, are waiting with baited breath for the brand’s Spring 2017 presentation. (T-11 days, people.)
[ via Glossy ]