J.Crew Menswear Head Exits, Anna Wintour Talks Politics

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J.Crew Menswear Head Exits, Anna Wintour Talks Politics


More movement has been announced at J.Crew this week, hot on the heels of the news of Jenna Lyons’ forthcoming departure. Business of Fashion broke the news today that Frank Muytjens, the head of menswear design, will be leaving the company in a new round of layoffs for the J.Crew Group (which includes Madewell and J.Crew brands). These layoffs, totalling 150 full-time jobs and 100 open positions, are part of an effort to “streamline” the business.

It is reported that the J.Crew Group held debt totalling $1.5 billion at the end of 2016. “We are streamlining our teams as we evolve our business and processes to cater to the new demands of the retail industry,” Millard “Mickey” Drexler, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “While challenging, we know what needs to be done and this is a critical step to position J.Crew for the future. We are committed to treating impacted associates with respect and support through this period of change.”

The layoffs have been noted to be mainly corporate. At the executive level, positions have been shuffled and combined. Michael J. Nicholson, already president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the J.Crew Group, will also lead the J.Crew brand. Lisa Greenwald, senior vice president of merchandising operation at Madewell, has also been sourced to be the chief merchandising officer of J.Crew. Libby Wadle has been named president at Madewell.

Drexler noted that, “We have an incredibly talented team of passionate leaders and will further leverage their strengths and talents as we continue to focus on making critical improvements in our business.” Reports showed that Madewell increased sales in 2016, while J.Crew sales were down from previous years, shedding light on the logistics behind these new leveragings.


Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour spoke to Business of Fashion for their latest print edition, discussing changes in the fashion industry in the U.S., in 2017 and beyond.

When asked specifically how she thinks the business of fashion itself has changed in the U.S. since her arrival at Vogue, Wintour mentioned the change in brands that dominated the American scene and market – and how the ease of access to emerging talent has changed that dominance. “It’s also incredible how sophisticated the customer is and how much they know and how they don’t want to be taken advantage of,” Wintour continued. “Even a customer who has time and is privileged and has money and can spend a lot on clothes. They will price out something online and not want to be taken advantage of and I think that’s a huge, huge change.”

As far as the new administration is concerned, Wintour responded to the question of worry over new and higher import taxes. The editor-in-chief pointing out that these changes have yet to be made, and efforts to do so will not be immediate – checks and balances will ensure that. “I think there’s been a lot of noise and now is a time for assessment.” Wintour went on to comment on her relationship with President Trump by explaining that everyone who has been in New York for so long knows the man. “Ivanka has had a long history with the magazine, and I have respect for Ivanka and everything that she has achieved.”

Theresa May’s appearance in American Vogue was another topic of discussion, bringing about the question of why Vogue readers in the U.S. might be interested in the British politician. “I think they’re interested in women and— going back to our 125th — that’s really what we decided to focus on throughout the year. Rather than just one issue, we thought we would just look at women in all different walks of life. Going back to Vogue having that sense of responsibility to reflect the time, that a woman is prime minister in Britain, which is our great ally, for the first time since Margaret Thatcher. We know that our readers are interested in politics, we know they’re interested in women, we know they’re interested in the world, so of course, she was a natural fit for us.”


J.Crew Menswear Head Exits, Anna Wintour Talks Politics

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Written by Lillie Peterson

Lillie is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in Classics and a lifelong fascination for fashion and art. A freelance writer and artist, her hobbies include photography, design, drawing and blogging.

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