J. Crew Vs Madewell: Why is Madewell On Top?

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Lately, the fashion world has been buzzing about the recent changes at J. Crew Group Incorporated. It has been reported that the company lost a total of $657.8 million in the 2014 fiscal year. Due to decrease sales, 175 full time employees have been laid off, and the head women’s designer, Tom Mora, has since been replaced. Generally, J. Crew has always seen steady sales, so what on earth has happened to make sales plummet so fast?

J. Crew has always been known for its simple classic American preppy clothing. The J. Crew woman shopper was loyal to her brand because of the simplicity of it. She could go into the store, be the same size throughout the store, and could rely on the clothing to last. Even First Lady Michelle Obama had been wearing J. Crew during her husband’s 2008 campaign year. It was the ultimate American company; simple, elegant, worthwhile, and convenient.

The recent height of J. Crew may have heightened the confidence within the company. Instead of keeping with its classic look, they ventured out and tried to make themselves a fashion house. While J. Crew customers have always enjoyed a fashion piece, J. Crew became hyperfocused on fashion as opposed to style. Though, we loved what Jenna Lyons brought to J. Crew this past February at Fashion Week, their uniform sizing and quality was lost because of designer partnerships. Eventually, losing their classic image, and with that, the classic J. Crew customer.

Interestingly enough, while J. Crew sales have been decreasing, Madewell, owned by J. Crew Group Incorporated, which opened in 2006, has been doing great in sales. Even more interesting, is Madewell seems to be morphing itself from the French girl inspired tomboy look into the original J. Crew aesthetic of classic American style, and for lack of a better description…items that are made well. Sizing and quality is uniform, and this leads to confusion from the J. Crew woman. She now cannot find her standard clothing that she wants at J. Crew, so she is heading over to Madewell.

While all hope for J. Crew is not lost, it’s evident that they cannot continue in the way they have. The changes seen in the company may seem drastic, but hopefully they will lead us to seeing our old friend J. Crew back to her roots. Those who are opting for the classic American preppy look will now also rejoice in the fact that Madewell will be sold at Nordstrom’s 30 locations and having two premium choices for their classic and well made clothing.

We actually love the new look of J. Crew and it’s unfortunate that women are not shopping in droves. So which J. Crew do you prefer, classic or chic?

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