Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Madewell News: Alexa Chung Collaboration

Over at Grazia Daily (click here), it is reported that Madewell will sign on a celebrity to collaborate on a new Madewell line. Also, "thanks!" to Jennifer (in this post) who let us know Fashionologie has an article (click here) on this news.
Collab-watch: Now Alexa signs up!
By Grazia Daily & WWD
January 19, 2010

It seems surprising, doesn’t it? Not that the presenter will be adding the line ‘designer/consultant’ onto her CV, but the fact that it’s taken this long to happen. In Alexa’s own words, that’s because “I was being offered so many collaborations for a long time, but I held off. I thought it would be quite a ‘sellout’ thing to do,” Chung told WWD. Oh she knows how cool she is alright.

Someone else well aware of this fact, is Millard “Mickey” Drexler, chairman and chief executive officer of J. Crew Group. “There is no grand scheme to this, and we still don’t want to hire a celebrity spokesperson,” he explained “It’s just that Alexa is totally cool. It’s not the way she looks or dresses. It’s the way she is.” The story goes that when Drexler consulted his staff about who the brand’s ideal customer was, they all named Chung, partly because they’d served her in the store.

The brand, which is part of US retail giant J-Crew sells hip vintage-inspired pieces to a young customer base, most of their pieces coming in under £100. ‘Alexa Chung for Madewell’ will include polka dot tea dresses, dungaree dresses, high-waisted skinny jeans, oversize wool jackets with velvet and lace accents, and T-shirts. So not a great departure from Alexa’s own dressed-down look (although we’ve seen her in an increasingly grand selection of designer frocks since she arrived in the states).

Alexa is currently concentrating on fashion rather than presenting. She’s modelling for Pepe jeans and has a luscious Mulberry bag named after her. In the past she has also modelled in campaigns for DKNY and New Look too. Famous for her personal style, she has also studied art and graphic design and the collection will include her own drawings and photographs. [WWD]
Madewell has been thinking about incorporating a "stylish face" to the brand for awhile (refer to the October 23rd "Madewell in the News: It's On Its Way" post). It is probably a better move to have a collaboration than a face for the company.

As for Alexa Chung, I thought she was super cute on MTV's It's On With Alexa Chung. Although, I don't know if I would take any fashion advice from her. She is a former model, so she could get away with some crazy, over the top styling. Now that I think about it, she probably could style the next J.Crew catalog! ;)

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you think it is a good marketing move to have a celebrity collaboration for Madewell? Who would you like to see in that role? :)


  1. High.waisted.skinny.jeans = UGH. 'nuff said.

  2. Dungaree dresses? I couldn't help it, I laughed! Haven't heard that word since the late 70s! :-P

    Should be interesting to see what comes out of this collaboration -- I think I'm probably a little too old to rock whatever bubbles up, and I've yet to buy anything from Madewell, but it seems like a smart alliance on Mickey's part....

  3. Jenna Jr in the making, methinks. Someone whose "style" we'll be over seeing after getting the catalog/emails for a few months! I've seen excerpts from her show a couple times, and while she is really pretty I think her appeal comes from being confident, good looking, and a hipster that is not ahead of the curve, but part of it. It doesn't sound like she's going to reinvent the wheel but put her stamp on what's already out there. If you've seen the BBC show Skins (one of the best shows, totally a big step up from GG and OTH!), you know where all the over knee sock with heels, crazed layers, daft expressions esthetic is coming from so I guess Madewell and JC are in for more of that. It really is a young look, one that can be looked fondly on since most of us have already been there but do we really want to revisit a past where we looked like bag people and spend beaucoup bucks for it?

  4. jbird - my thoughts exactly! I preduct the return of the camel toe. ICK!

  5. Madewell clothing doesn't appeal to me in the least.
    And personally I don't see anything unique about Alexa Chungs style. She's a pretty woman, but I'm not seeing amazing creativity in her own clothing choices.

  6. My daughter loves Madewell (she's 19) and especially loves their jeans. While the store does tend to appeal to a younger target audience, I have purchased jeans there myself and my 75 yo mother has also bought several tops and sweaters there. What we all like about Madewell, I think, is that their clothes are not easliy identifiable...although I love JCrew, you can kind of spot J Crew everywhere...it has a certain look. It will be interesting to see what this Alexa brings to the table.

  7. as long as it's not too grungy looking...there aren't many of us that can pull off the british-ex-supermodel style!

  8. I think Alexa's style was more interesting 2-3 years ago, when she was wearing more vintage and items (new/vintage/otherwise) she had obviously chosen herself. Now she's clearly wearing a lot of freebies. (Same is true -- and to a much bigger extent -- for Sienna Miller.)

    Still, aesthetically Alexa is a good fit for Madewell. Few girls rock skinny jeans like Alexa Chung! But even for people who don't wear skinny jeans, her style is very accessible (lots of Topshop). It's partly because the key is in how she puts the pieces together, rather than the piece themselves. I mean, the items she wears most often are band t-shirts and peacoats.

    I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

  9. This is very interesting news. Alexa Chung is young and the fashion world seems to love her style, but she seems a bit "grungy" (for lack of a better word) for Madewell. Her style was certainly more interesting a few years back (plus, she looked healthier and more polished). Now, I really don't see what makes her distinctive from any other hipster. I know that Madewell isn't exactly streamlined and simple, but the looks are still cleaner and more classic than, say, Urban Outfitters.

    A few months ago, Jenna Lyons mentioned her admiration of Chung's style and it made me bristle. That statement combined with some questionable styling/items made me extremely fearful for the future of preppy J. Crew! Now, Erin Wasson's all over the catalogs (she's featured on the cover of the January one). Wasson's made such charming statements as "Homeless people have the best style," and I'm fearful all over again.

    I really hope this collaboration with Chung doesn't indicate anything more about the creative direction of J. Crew. They've already moved far enough away from their target customer.

  10. High waisted skinny jeans??? If you are an anorexic model maybe, but for real curvy healthy women and moms???? I must say I LOVE the Mulberry bag with her name, it's on my list of future purchases!

  11. She looks anorexic too me....if rocking her look means starving myself down from my healthy size 6 to 0 I say no thank you!

  12. Dungaree??? I'm from a Navy family and grew up hearing that pertaining to a sailor's uniform.

    And I can't say it any better than CheesyGoodness so I'll leave it at 'what she said'

  13. CheesyGoodness: I love Skins too! Alexa Chung reminds me of Effy in terms of style. I was never really interested in madewell, and this isn't going to get me interested, even though I may be in their target age? maybe? is 24 their target? lol

  14. i think the collaboration makes a lot of sense. when i hear alexa chung, i think cool. (well, the word probably isn't "cool" anymore :P) seems like the market madewell is trying to connect with...the high school to college well-assembled grungy/layered/effortless look that i wish i could pull off better :D

  15. I guess it says something about me that I don't even know who she is. Assuming that's her in the picture, though, it's not encouraging me to shop at Madewell. I don't mean to sound snarky, but she looks like an homeless alien. Her head is huge in proportion to her body and her legs are frightening.

  16. I'm so excited for this collaboration! I'm big fan of both Madewell and Alexa Chung's style, so I'm really looking forward to the end result in September.

  17. i'm intrigued by the collab, but not being able to return Madewell items to a JCrew B&M store sort of kills it for me. If there was a Madewell in SF, then maybe.


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