Well, J.Crew found themselves in a bit of controversy with one of their offerings, the Belstaff® Trialmaster jacket (Item 22979; $795.00), formerly known as the Belstaff® Che Guevara Replica Jacket.
If you do a Google search on this topic, you will find a handful of consumers outraged that J.Crew would associate themselves with Che Guevara. As a result, J.Crew quickly renamed the jacket by omitting the name altogether.
I am not going to go into the whole Che Guevara discussion (there are lots of other blogs, books, etc. that already do, and are much better informed than me on the topic). Instead, I like to say that I am happy to hear that J.Crew quickly reacted to consumers' concerns (no matter what the issue is at hand). However, I am left wondering why J.Crew would even bother including the name in the first place, knowing there could be some sort of controversy around it.
When I think of J.Crew, the last thing I think of is "controversial". There are some other fashion houses I might think of... like Calvin Klein with those super skinny (almost strung out) models like Kate Moss back in the '90s, or the recent Ralph Lauren ads that show ridiculously thin models with heads bigger than their hips (refer here), or Karl Lagerfeld's recent quote (refer here). But definitely not J.Crew.
The last time (that I can remember) where J.Crew found itself in some trouble was in 2005. In one of their catalogs they offered several pieces of clothes and footwear with real fur trim (like the puffer vest in the image to the left). After protests from organized groups and many angry consumer complaints, J.Crew pulled all the pieces from their stores and online. Which is why I found it odd that J.Crew's newest arrivals included the Shadow Shearling Jacket (Item 20889; $2,500.00).
So here's to hoping that J.Crew learns from the past and avoids the serious controversy. And that the most controversial aspect to J.Crew is how the Silk Taffeta Belted Short (Item 20103; $118.00) made it to Jenna's Picks as one of her "forever pieces" (refer to here).
I remember that controversy well, so I was surprised by that shearling jacket. When the protests happened in 2005, it seems like they sent and posted videos (I didn't watch them) to make their point and the products were quickly pulled.ReplyDelete
I totally remember that fur issue! They had real fur on their puffer vests and I think Gap was using faux fur during that same season.ReplyDelete
Why is shearling bad and leather OK?ReplyDelete
I agree with anony-- What's the difference between them selling shearling (which they've still sold since the last controversy in the form of earmuffs and gloves) and the leather shoes and gloves (and bomber jackets) they currently sell? It's still animal carcass. :/ReplyDelete
I can't believe this was a controversy. Don't people have anything better to do than complain to J. Crew?ReplyDelete
It is mildly ironic that a guy who denounced materialism in favor of moralism would have his name put on an $800 jacket.ReplyDelete
Oh I remember in 2005 when JCrew had the issues with the fur. That was the year I worked for them. We had to remove all the fur off the sales floor but they did offer it to us employees for SUPER sale, if I remember it was something like 90% off. Seriously they were giving the fur away. I didn't end up buying any of it.ReplyDelete
Alexis, did Jenna really refer to these pieces as "forever pieces"? Plaid (grunge style) shirts and shirt dresses may be cyclical but "forever"?ReplyDelete
They had to have known the name would be controversial before ever placing the jacket on the website in the first place...seems like a calculated move.ReplyDelete
It's amazing how many of us remember the Fur issue of 2005! I think it sticks out so much because we did not expect to see it (or at least I didn't).ReplyDelete
FFM: You raised a good point. They might have known beforehand. Although I can't help but think someone saw the film "The Motorcycle Diaries" and that was it. ;)
SanFranciscoCA: The email with Jenna's picks had the subject line of "Jenna's picks - my forever pieces". I am not sure if they were going with a dramatic title as oppose to being realistic with her pieces. ;) I also couldn't agree with you more that "plaid (grunge style) shirts and shirt dresses" are cyclical. :)
It has to be a planned move. Could anyone be so naive as to think that would not be controversial?ReplyDelete
OT, I ordered the navy blue sapphire tweed pencil skirt and cotton-silk medallion shirt in dusty blossom earlier today as sizes were getting very limited. They are now both sold out in my size. If you want to get these items you may want to order soon. The skirt says catalog/online only but the shirt says select stores and it is on sale to boot so maybe your size is out there somewhere. I've seen a few IRL photos of the skirt and it looks divine. Can't wait to get mine.
Well, if we talk about morality... all of our big brand name makes their good in CHINA and we know for sure that it cost them less to have goods made over there than here in the US... We don't even know how they deal with the manufacturers over there... I heard some complains about JCREW though concerning that. So if we complain about every little thing, we should not buy JCREW at all... Because for the prices we pay, I don't know if it is worth it then...ReplyDelete
Yes..J Crew has been slapped with some factory worker related issues overseas. Google it. It's been several years back but I was very hesitant to buy from them...not sure what happened to my values since then!ReplyDelete
That surprises me about Crew being made in China. I thought companies did the overseas thing to keep prices LOW????ReplyDelete
I guess I'll just note that folks should do their research and make educated choices. Furs, leather, wool production often involves tremendous animal cruelty and to tan leathers, a lot of toxic materials are used.ReplyDelete
International labor and environmental conditions are often horrendous in places like china.
That being said, even production of cruelty free fabrics like cotton involve a crazy amount of water use and pesticides. And "Eco" products like bamboo have been shown to be a green washing campaign.
It makes it hard to make responsible choices. Very personal choices too. I can say though that I'm sad to see jcrew adding fur back to its product line.
Tough choices on many fronts.
LOL! Loved iwish4jcrew's comment about China -- good one!ReplyDelete
As for the Che Guevara jacket issue, I think it must have been a calculated move on J. Crew's part. I'd love to see the sale numbers for this item before and after the name change. Matty J is right -- Che hated capitalism, and yet his name and image have generated millions of dollars in sales of coffee mugs, t-shirts, posters, key chains, you name it. The ultimate irony indeed.
Between the Fur peices, the Che Guevera Jacket and the 1/2 naked holiday collection items ads I think they are doing a great job now of being controversial. Sigh.ReplyDelete
Such stupidity. It is the replica of the jacket Che wore, so that is what Belstaff calls it. They have other versions of the Trialmaster. The Steve McQueen version is also being sold by J. Crew, and there is the "Legend" version that Will Smith wore in I Am Legend.ReplyDelete
Belstaff fans have called these what they are and now that they are available through a mainstream outlet it is an issue. Like Em said, people with nothing better to do. Here is a link to see the them side by side.
Great blog, btw.
"Che Guevara is an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom, we will always honor his memory." --- NELSON MANDELAReplyDelete
Well, about JCREW manufacturing in CHINA, they make more profit this way... but don't make their goods cheaper for us... And also, silk is way cheaper over there. But, see at what price they sell their silk blouses??? Let's take Forever 21. Ok, they sell cheap clothes but sometimes you can find silk items for so cheap!!! Like 20 dollars... The whole thing is to tell yourself that if they make their goods over there and have them all shipped to the US, they must pay the manufacturers very very low, who must pay the workers barely nothing... And whenever JCrew writes things like "everything is sewn by hand ( for the beadworks )and that they care for quality... Hummm... I wonder... it is just a marketing thing...ReplyDelete