The following article is from the Wall Street Journal (click here to read in its entirety):
J.'s Crew: As its men's empire expands, the co-branding pioneer rolls with a growing gang of specialty outfittersFirst, I had no idea that J.Crew had so many partnerships. They have been involved in more collaborations during the past few years, just didn't realize how many!
November 26, 2011
"Men's fashion has moved more quickly in the last 10 years than it has over the last 40," said Millard "Mickey" Drexler, J. Crew's dynamic CEO.
One of the key moments in that acceleration may have been the company's 2008 opening of the Liquor Store, its first men's-only shop built in an old spirits seller in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood. It introduced a formula that has served as a clever template for the six J. Crew men's shops that followed (including a newly opened space in Manhattan's Columbus Circle) and planned outposts in Los Angeles, Toronto and London.
Feeling more like individual boutiques than J. Crew's integrated stores, the spaces are stylized, site-specific environments. They are filled with not only the brand's merchandise but antique furniture, inspiration books plucked from the designer's offices and exclusive collaborations with little-known labels.
"We collaborate with people that are doing what we can't do," said Mr. Drexler, who, with the help of president and creative director Jenna Lyons and head of men's design Frank Muytjens, has brokered more than 100 partnerships with brands such as Timex, Thomas Mason and Red Wing. "Now we're sharing customers with every high-end designer in the world. We want to offer something a little more scarce, a little more hard to find," he added.
The result: Obscure Japanese labels and so-traditional-no-one's-bought-it-for-decades brands become famous in a season. Here, Mr. Muytjens tells us about a few of those brands you probably haven't heard of...yet.
J.Crew Men's Shop colloborates with several designers:
- Gloverall | This brand has been producing the duffle coat since 1954 in Northampton, England. It's slim and short and the quality is beautiful.
- Drakes London | Such a great English brand. They've been around a long time, so the scarves have a very traditional look. I love the snowflake pattern.
- Ricker Handmade | This is an exclusive bag design we have from Ricker. It's made out of old postal bags with patches of vintage Japanese indigo sewn over it. No two bags are the same.
- Scott-Nichol | We love the chunky knit and the tweed yarn—they're the iconic English Hunting Sock. The Fair Isle print is my favorite.
- Fratelli Rossetti | We're always looking for the ultimate loafer. Fratelli Rossetti's are pretty amazing. The toe is not too round nor too square.
- Kato | We discovered Kato, this obscure Japanese brand, during a trip to Tokyo. It's a fresh perspective on a work shirt. We're the only ones outside of Asia to carry it.
- Mougin & Piquard | This was a defunct French watch brand that Tourneau relaunched with us. We went back into their archives and designed the Grande Seconde. We're the only ones to carry the brand in the world.
- Wallace & Barnes | These jeans in our salt fade wash are from our new vintage-inspired capsule collection, which you can only get at our men's stores. They're made in the USA from beautiful Japanese denim, and the fit is not too slim and not too straight. I've been wearing them for a month!
Second, I think their store concept for Men is great. Although I am curious if they plan to expand that across the country (not just in major cities).
What are your thoughts on the article? Any part you found particularly interesting? If so, please share! :)