News & Runway

J.Crew Tapped Staffers, Friends and Family to Model Its Must-See Spring Collection

Image: Imaxtree

Image: Imaxtree

There’s adding diversity to your runway show and then there’s what J.Crew did this past Sunday. At the prep purveyor’s Spring 2017 presentation, creative director Jenna Lyons took inclusion to a whole new level with a lineup populated by “friends of the brand, members of [the J.Crew] team…people we admire.”

Ranging in age from 13 to 70 and representing an array of races, sizes and body types, the J.Crew crew radiated style and personality. “They’re students and parents and grandparents; professionals, artists, teachers and activists. Each one has their own unique style and beauty,” stated Lyons. Familiar faces included All The Pretty Birds blogger-slash-photographer Tamu McPherson, fashion consultant Ramya Giangola and Girls guest star and PR powerhouse Audrey Gelman. The show notes included adorable mini-bios to help guests get to know each model (staffer Dalila Shannon is described as “women’s merchant and serial Snapchatter”).

“We were talking a lot about what inspires us, and it’s people in our office — people whose style and energy we love, people we go to dinner and hang out with,” women’s designer Somsack Sikhounmuong told Fashionista. “Just being able to put our clothes in that context and sort bring them to life was very cool.” 

Recent years have seen financial losses across the retail sector, resulting in serious cutbacks for the brand. The company’s apparent disconnect from its core consumer hasn’t helped matters. Hashtags like #ReviveJCrew and sites devoted to criticizing the company’s recent offerings have popped up on the Internet — and have not gone unnoticed. “This season, we wanted to explore the idea of heritage, iconic pieces and the deep connection we have with our customers. We though about what makes J.Crew J.Crew — and how this could be expressed through texture and treatment,” Lyons explained in the show notes. “We chose three ideas to expand on: chinos, stripes and the color pink. We then looked at them through the lens of all of our customers—the preppy ones, the tomboys, the girly-girls, the workwear guys, the traditionalists, the peacocks…”

The resulting presentation was one of the most relaxed and instantly (window) shoppable that we’ve encountered this Fashion Week (although the complimentary champagne may have had something to do with the former). In a beaming Instagram post, Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine gave perfect voice to our sentiments, writing: “J.Crew figured out exactly what’s been missing from fashion week — Emotion! Personal affinity! And did this genius thing wherein they commissioned industry participants to model in their presentation so that when you arrive you receive a delightful Sunday afternoon pick me up in the form of familiar happy faces wearing some of the best and most digestible and fun and accessible(!) clothes in the business.”

Check out the full collection in the slideshow below — is it not refreshing to see those cinched denim dresses, apron frocks, wide-legged linens and all-ruffled everything on women who basically could be you? Sound off in the comments below.