This morning at 7AM, Jenna took over. (Just Twitter, not the world.) In those 3-1/2 hours, we learned: she’s lived in New York for 27 years, she loves emojis, she’ll happily take a #selfie with you if she gets to edit the shot, and her walk to the kitchen is a hallway lined with shoes. Really, it is.
Did you miss Jenna’s Twitter Takeover? Check us out on @jcrew and catch up on the action from our spring/summer 2015 presentation by searching the hashtag #jcrewnyfw.
Casting day is a favorite for the ladies in our office: It’s when our head menswear designer, Frank, and our stylist, Jack, pick the models for our spring/summer 2015 presentation next week. Follow our diary for a look at what’s to come.
Photographs by Bryan Derballa.
Check back daily for more behind-the-scenes glimpses as we get ready for our spring/summer 2015 presentation on September 9th during New York Fashion Week.
Also, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @jcrew and search #jcrewnyfw for of-the-moment updates on our show.
Chris and Kirk Bray are the founders of leather-goods purveyor Billykirk. Using domestic hardware, leather sourced from stateside tanneries and the help of Amish artisans, they craft classic American designs that only get better with age.
new York-based designer (and recent Discovered featured subject) Demy Lee’s collection strikes the balance between elegant and slouchy cool. our stylist Gayle used some of her pieces in our latest J.Crew Collection shoot and, here, shares a few of her favorites.
the New York-based designer used her love of cardigans (she has more than 200 of them) as a springboard to launch of her own knitwear-centric clothing line. we popped by the designer’s midtown studio to talk racking up stamps on her passport and the merits of easy dressing.
“When I first started my line in 2008, the collection had 30 cardigans and only one top and one dress,” recalls the designer, who got her start in the knitwear departments at Derek Lam and Lela Rose. “Ironically it was the dress and the top that were the best sellers.” For Lynne, it’s the challenge of working with yarns rather than bolts of fabric that is part of the appeal: “Knitwear starts from yarn, and it’s a three-dimensional, creative process. Plus I couldn’t sew a tailored jacket to save my life!”
She travels regularly to Peru, a country deeply rooted in its textile tradition and handiwork and, for the last two years, has incorporated the work of its artisans into her collections. The Marianela pant and the Gisella top are woven on an industrial scarf loom and cut into garments. “I work really closely with the factory there to create our own patterns,” she says.
A review of her line—flirty skirts, embroidered blouses, skinny drawstring pants in various patterns—reveals a designer who likes repetition: “In my own life, I’ll often buy things of the same style in two or three colorways. I gravitate towards simplicity and comfort and that’s reflected in the way I approach design.”
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Imane Fiocchi and hair by Melisande Page, both for Beauty Exchange NYC.
To shop our entire assortment of Cardigan™, click here.
we had a jewelry crush on Caroline Ventura of BRVTVS (pronounced “Brutus” and named for the unfaithful friend of Julius Caesar) well before we actually met her. now that we’ve teamed up with her for the launch of our fine-jewelry collection, we thought it was high time we invited ourselves over to her West Village studio to see how she puts it all together.
A Google search reveals that you learned about soldering in middle school. True? The other kids were making friendship bracelets and you were an aspiring metalsmith?
My dad worked as a video engineer in Hollywood on a lot of films—all the Rocky and Rambo movies and the Naked Gun series, to name a few—so he was always fixing video equipment in his workshop. A lot of it required him to fix circuit boards, so he was always soldering things. I used to love to go in there and ask a million questions about what each part did and what needed fixing.
Like many good lines, yours began with the desire to create a bracelet you could wear every day. Can you tell us a bit about that?
I wanted a delicate bracelet for myself—something simple that I could wear daily. At the time, most of the jewelry out there was really flashy; costume jewelry was a big trend. The few pieces I liked, I couldn’t afford, so I just decided to make a bracelet myself. I researched where to buy gold at wholesale, and it just happened from there. My first trip to the diamond district in New York City opened my eyes. I bought chain, clasps, gold sheet and metal shears and pliers and went home to mess around.
How would you describe the BRVTVS aesthetic? How does it reflect your own personal approach to style?
I think things are at their best when they are simple. I love the idea of having a uniform of sorts, and I really try to design things that you put on and don’t want to take off, so it becomes a part of you.
I’m really into the idea of combining opposites. Pairing my thick ring with the delicate chain link ring is one of my favorite combos. Even the way I dress—I gravitate toward clothes that are a little more boyish, but I love feminine materials like linen and silk.
Your own personal piercing mix-and-match approach to earrings is pretty unique too…
I’m really drawn to asymmetry and mixing shapes and metals. I sell all my earrings individually, as opposed to doing them in pairs, so you can mix different pieces together to create your own unique setup. My friend Colby, who works at NY Adorned, is my go-to when I need a piercing fix. He’s brilliant at creating something unique for each person he sees.
Where does your design process start?
Each piece comes to life differently. Sometimes, I have an idea that needs to be sketched out so I can get proper proportions and see it on paper. Other times, I just have an idea and start working with the metal right away. Living in New York is great inspiration. I’m really drawn to architecture. I love when I come across an interesting shape and can figure out how to translate it into something wearable.
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Suzy Gerstein for the Magnet Agency.
To shop our entire assortment of BRVTVS, click here. Then, explore the J.Crew fine jewelry collection here.
in certain jewelry-obsessed circles, Catbird’s Rony Vardi is known as the authority on the art of the ring stack. we checked in with the Williamsburg shop owner and newest J.Crew fine-jewelry collaborator to find out how she got her start.
Before Rony Vardi opened Catbird on Williamsburg’s Metropolitan Avenue in 2004 (the shop has since moved to Bedford Avenue), she was like any other twentysomething, bouncing around between jobs—working as a seamstress and then as a graphic designer. “I knew I eventually wanted to work for myself and had this idea of an ongoing creative project that would take shape over time,” she says. When a retail space opened up in her neighborhood she took it as a sign. “I think Williamsburg’s energy is still its biggest appeal, and there has always been a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” she explains. Now, Catbird has a team of 30 employees (and counting) and a three-room office space, which includes a full jewelry studio, right near the Williamsburg Bridge in addition to its stand-alone boutique.
PIECE BY PIECE
At Catbird’s storefront, the vitrines of jewelry remain the shop’s biggest draw. “When we first started, we had one woman who made us a few bands from home. Now we have 17 full-time jewelry designers,” says Rony. The process is wholly collaborative too. Some designs start with a wax carving or sketch. Designs aren’t introduced seasonally but instead when the team comes up with something they really like. Case in point: The idea for one of their best sellers, the ultrathin Threadbare ring, came from her buyer, Leigh Plessner. “The idea was this little wisp of gold that would become an instant keepsake,” says Rony. “We love picturing little girls being given their mom’s Catbird stacks years from now.”
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Imane Fiocchi and hair by Melisande Page, both for Beauty Exchange NYC.
To shop the entire Catbird assortment, click here. To explore all of J.Crew’s fine jewelry, click here.
we love it when things come full circle: our set director Tracy began painting after being inspired by the flowers she handpicks for our weddings & parties shoots. so, it was only a matter of time before we featured her signature floral paintings in one of our own shoots—this time, as a backdrop in our latest Style Guide.
Behind the scenes photography by Bryan Derballa.
To read about our afternoon spent in Tracy’s Williamsburg studio, click here. Last spring we went flower shopping with Tracy. See more from our visit here.
To shop our weddings & parties collection, click here.
in honor of UV Safety Month we’re celebrating all things beach. enter, the free newspaper, The Usual, billed as a “love letter to Montauk” and one of our favorite beach reads. we teamed up with cofounders Yasha Wallin and Emily Anderson for their latest issue, giving these avid surfers some of our latest J.Crew swim to test-drive for their weekends out East. here’s a peek at what they’ve been up to…
Photography by Forest Woodward.
To find out where to pick up your own free copy of The Usual, click here. To learn more about UV Safety Month and our #jcrewsmartsun partnership, click here.
former LA-based stylist, Jennifer Fisher’s jewelry collection was born out of an unfruitful search for a necklace to commemorate the birth of her son, Shane. we visited the designer in her SoHo studio early one morning for our own lesson in layering.
During her childhood, Jennifer Fisher’s parents would return from their travels with bracelet charms for her as a reminder of their adventures. After the birth of her first son Shane she had trouble finding something similarly symbolic. So she asked a local jeweler to make a dog tag with Shane’s name on it. “It was an instant conversation piece,” she says of the tag, which she wore on a long gold chain. “People began asking me to create custom ones. From there, the business was born.”
For her fine jewelry collaboration with J.Crew, Jennifer and our team selected 10-karat charms like a lock and key, lightening bolt, a jagged star (an exclusive she created just for us), dog tags with the words like “love” or “dream” as well as a selection of initials. The assortment is meant to mixed and matched. “I love the idea that you can make your necklace feel dainty or heavy, simple or eclectic depending on your style,” she says.
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Imane Fiocchi for Beauty Exchange NYC, hair by Jessica Gillin.
To shop our entire collection of Jennifer Fisher® for J.Crew, click here.
we love beaches. and surfing. and swimming. and lounging. sunburns? not so much. so this July (which is UV Safety Month) we’re asking you to instagram pics of how you’re covering up in the sun, from throwing on a rash guard to staying cool in the shade. here’s a little inspiration for you next sunny day photo op…
we’re firm believers that good-looking gear will motivate us to get up for a 6:30am run. we met up with
Tyler Haney, the founder of Outdoor Voices, for a quick tour of her Flatiron studio and then some sweat-inducing
yoga moves out in Central Park.
When Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney graduated from design school in New York, she found that she
was still looking for a line of activewear that she really loved. “I’m a jogger, swimmer and yoga-er so I certainly
wanted performance fabrics but also simple and elegant designs,” explains the Colorado native. And so Outdoor
Voices was born, an easy-to-wear line that uses the best technical fabrics in the business but also channels the
unique tastes of its founders—pared-down illustrations of dancers, abstract paintings of swimmers and even
energy crystals. “Our main inspiration is the body and the many beautiful shapes it can make,” says Tyler.
At the heart of Outdoor Voices is a belief in the importance of getting, well, outdoors—so we asked Tyler to
invite a couple of her friends (her business partner Andrew Parietti, Naomi Shon, a photographer, and Chuck
Grant, who recently received her yoga teacher certificate) to do a little impromptu yoga in Central Park. “I’m
all about fitness and sociability,” explains Tyler. “At OV we always say ‘Doing things is better than not doing
things.’” In fact, it’s her friends who test the clothing and give feedback based on the needs of their own active
lifestyles. “We always encourage bending, folding, jumping, extending, twirling,” she says. “Anything that looks
cool (and feels great) goes.”
Special thanks to Tyler Haney, Andrew Parietti, Naomi Shon and Chuck Grant.
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Imane Fiocchi and hair and grooming by Melisande Page, both
for Beauty Exchange NYC.
To shop our entire assortment of Outdoor Voices™, click here.
We asked Michael Saiger, the creator of Miansai—the nautical-inspired accessory line responsible for making
“man jewelry” socially acceptable—what he’s packing for his next inspiration trip to Tokyo (which includes an
expedition to the city’s famed fish markets).
Are you a last-minute packer or plan-ahead packer?
I’m a last-minute packer; I literally pack two minutes before I head to the airport. I’m notorious for missing
flights or changing them at the last minute. I think it’s genetic because my mother does the same thing.
Anything you won’t travel without?
On long flights, I have to have my Bose noise-cancelling headphones, but aside from that, I’m pretty easy. My
carry-on, and probably the most utilitarian item I own, is a vintage Swiss WWII backpack. It’s been with me
from hikes in Patagonia to all-day meetings in Japan.
Favorite travel companion?
My girlfriend, Camila. She is always down to do anything, whether it’s a three-day hike or crazy day in the city.
Any tips for surviving the long flight?
Stay hydrated, watch a good movie and dress comfortably—but not like you’re going to the gym.
What do you like most about traveling to Tokyo?
Every time I go, I’m always amazed by how polite the Japanese are—it makes traveling there that much easier. I
also love the Japanese fashion sense. Everyone is super fashion forward; they’re not afraid to try new trends or
express themselves through their unique style. That goes for women and men! Honestly, when I walk down the
street, it’s crazy how many more men’s stores there are than women’s.
What’s the story behind the above photo?
This is one of our most iconic bracelets, which I left on a wish tablet at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. People come
from all over the world to visit the temple and handwrite prayers on wooden boards hoping they’ll be answered.
I am always inspired when I travel, and different elements from my experiences abroad often translate into the
design aesthetic of Miansai.
Any favorite local spots you could suggest to us?
The view from BelloVisto bar, the rooftop bar at the Cerulean Tower Hotel, is amazing. My absolute favorite
place for sushi is Matsuei. For breakfast, I love Orimine Bakers. They sell a puff pastry with powdered sugar on
top that I eat every morning when I’m in Tokyo.
Where do you go in Tokyo for design inspiration?
The fish markets in Tokyo are incredibly inspiring for me when designing new collections. I love to wake up
early, walk down to the market around dawn and see the boats coming in and unloading huge bluefin tuna. A
lot of the Miansai design elements are very nautical, so seeing all of the fishing hardware around the market gets
my creative juices flowing. On my most recent trip, I saw a new hook that was really cool—so maybe you’ll see a
new hook design in the future!
Where are you hoping to go next?
I’m thinking Thailand or Greenland for my next vacation.
bracelet designer Shana Ready popped down from her home in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, to talk nautical inspiration
and give us a quick tutorial on how she puts together her handmade lanyard bracelets.
THE MAINE ATTRACTION
Shana always dreamed of being a designer, but after attending the Rhode Island School of Design and working
as a fashion designer in New York, she found herself drawn back to her home state. Surprisingly, it was when
surrounded by the natural beauty of Maine that she finally found the inspiration she was looking for. “In Maine,
inspiration is less obvious, it needs to be sought out,” says Shana. She ended up creating her first bracelet styles
while playing around with her husband’s lobster gear. Soon after, friends started placing their orders.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Shana makes all her jewelry by hand in a studio overlooking the ocean—so she’s never far from her original
inspiration. That’s true of her materials too, which she sources locally from the area, like the authentic dock line
used for tying up boats and marine hardware. As for the pop of neon orange used in some of the bracelets? It’s
inspired by the buoys she’d see out on the water. “I think there is enormous beauty in utility,” she says.
drinking more water is one of the easiest things you can do for your health—a point that’s at the heart of Drink
Up, an initiative started by the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). it’s a cause that’s important to the
parents in our office too, so our team designed a special graphic tee to show our support. we sat down with
PHA’s chief marketing officer, Drew Nannis, to learn more (and to brush up on a few of our water facts).
Tell us about your motto, “You are what you drink.”
PHA wants to make it easier for parents and their families to make healthier choices. Some of our work involves
inspiring healthy behavior change, and Drink Up does just that. One of the easiest ways to be a little healthier
every day is to drink more water—after all, you are what you drink and when you drink water, you Drink Up.
How did First Lady Michelle Obama get involved in Drink Up?
The First Lady is PHA’s honorary chair—and she continues to support Drink Up. The program is really the result
of a collaboration between the entire water community—from bottles and bottlers to taps and filters and now
fashion too! (Visit youarewhatyoudrink.org to learn more.)
How has social media played a role in what you’re doing?
Social media has been such a key part of Drink Up. We started with the hashtag #drinkH2O and added
#spreadthewater this spring. It has resulted in tremendous participation, with Instagrammers across the country
(including celebrities like John Legend and James Franco) uploading photos of themselves hydrating.
To learn more, check out Drink Up here, and check out #drinkH2O and #spreadthewater on Twitter and Instagram.
To shop our kids’ crewcuts for Drink Up tee, click here.
What to Pack For: A Beach Weekend in Greenport, Long Island
for J.Crew collaborators Quentin and Alia of beach-accessory line ArteMare, traveling to beautiful beaches is
just part of the job (we know, we’re jealous too). we asked the duo, who often pop over to Long Island’s North
Fork for the weekend, what’s topping their packing lists this summer.
What won’t you travel without?
QUENTIN: My wristwatch. It’s a stainless steel Tag Heuer that my parents gave me for my high school
graduation. I guess you could say it’s vintage at this point!
ALIA: An oversize lightweight cashmere-and-cotton scarf.
Preferred travel companion?
QUENTIN: Mushu, my always-ready French bulldog.
ALIA: A well-versed local.
How do you guys keep busy in Greenport?
QUENTIN: Morning bike rides and sunset cocktails.
ALIA: Stopping at the farm stands, vineyards and antique shops that dot the road to Greenport. It’s a
cliché, but the best part of the trip can be the journey—and that’s especially true when driving along Long
Island’s North Fork.
Any local spots you could suggest to us?
QUENTIN: Hopping on the ferry to Sunset Beach Hotel on Shelter Island to watch the sunset and have
dinner; Triangle Sea Sales in Greenport for unusual nautical salvage antiques; and Reddings Market on
Shelter Island for fresh juice.
ALIA: Sang Lee Farms in Peconic for organic produce and picnic-basket essentials, as well as Braun
Seafood in Cutchogue for amazing lobster boils and fresh seafood. And Lido boutique in Greenport has a
great selection of items from the owners’ world travels.
You specialize in beach accessories—safe to say you get a lot of your inspiration from traveling?
QUENTIN: Absolutely. One of the great things about what we do is that traveling to beautiful beaches
all over the world is a requirement. Every detail of what we experience is in some way reflected in the
products we design.
filmmaker, photographer and sometime Ludlow suit model Daniel Mehrer drove from Denver to eastern Idaho where his friend Ryder Robison’s family has a home. we sent these guys out to explore the great outdoors armed with some classic Wallace & Barnes pieces.
This road in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming cuts through 2,500-foot-high rock walls.
Ryder, an artist, his girlfriend, Ainsley McWha, a writer, and Daniel made the 10-hour drive from Denver to St. Anthony, in eastern Idaho, where Ryder’s family has had a property since 1914.
Buffalo wander near the roadside right outside Grand Teton National Park.
The property and working farm in St. Anthony has been in Ryder’s family for the past 100 years.
Ainsley wears a J.Crew triple eyelet dress. Similar here.
we decked a few friends out in our summer swim collection, gave them some pool toys and asked our friends Andy Spade and Van Neistat to make a video. but we think they got it backwards.
Andy Spade, cofounder of Partners & Spade
Juan Heredia and Martine Langatta, owners of Montauk store Martine and Juan
Leilani Bishop, model and founder of fragrance oil line Leilani Bishop
Harry McNally, photographer and musician
Cynthia Rowley, designer, and Bill Powers, gallery owner, with daughters Kit and Gigi (Cynthia and Kit wear Cynthia Rowley for J.Crew wetsuits).
we sat down with eight-year-old Olive and her dachshund (and BFF), Izzy, over burgers at NYC’s Shake Shack to talk travel and Cronuts. (spoiler alert: These two are totally adorable.)
Olive, what brings you to New York?
We come every year! Manhattan is one of our favorite places to visit! We would so live here if we didn’t live in London.
So, what’s on the itinerary?
We’re such tourists, but…full disclosure, we really came to try the Cronut. Izzy is a vegan and eats gluten free, but she’s going to make an exception.
Where else do you love to travel, Izzy?
Hmm. I think our favorite trip recently was Paris—right, Olive? We were invited to a New Year’s Eve ball, so we went to Harrods for some fancy outfits. Olive told me I had to wear a gown, but I wouldn’t—I don’t do long dresses.
Olive? Any favorites?
We love to snorkel, so my favorite place was probably the Great Barrier Reef. Though, poor Izzy got stung by a jellyfish and couldn’t move her tail for a few weeks.
How do you girls find time to study?
We’re homeschooled, so we spend a lot of time studying on planes and trains. We’re learning Mandarin Chinese right now. Izzy is better at speaking; I’m better at writing the characters.
Anything else on your agenda for the trip?
Lots of exhibits, to keep us cultured. We’ve planned a trip to Kara Walker’s art installation at the old Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg. And I promised Izzy we’d stop by this new shuffleboard place afterward. She’s so competitive sometimes.
Last question, guys: We hear you’re taking a trip around the world, is that true?
It’s true! It’s a 180-day cruise, and we’re going to over 100 countries. I’m most excited to visit South Africa, and Izzy can’t wait to go to Italy. We’re both soooo excited.
To shop our entire girls’ assortment, including the Olive Yoga Tee, click here.
You seem to be a big fan of the Birkenstock Boston both for yourself and for guys on the blog. What’s the draw?
It’s what my friends and I wear after surfing, when you want to slip into something that could take you through the rest of your day.
How do you wear your Bostons?
I usually wear them with vintage military chinos or BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform; cargo pants), something with a roomier leg that I can roll up if I want to. I’ve been seeing other guys wearing them with slim sweatpants and cropped, cutoff denim though.
What’s the best way you’ve seen Bostons worn on the street?
A while ago, I saw someone wearing a pair with a really classic wide-striped flannel suit and a big hat in the middle of winter. The whole thing looked very cool and surprising. That’s kind of what started it for me.
Recommendations on when to pull them out?
Really anywhere except your wedding. I treat mine like I imagine
other guys treat their leather loafers: the shoes you naturally go to when you’re on your way out the door.
Photography by Bryan Derballa.
To shop the Birkenstock® for J.Crew for Boston Clogs, click here.
Yes, You Can Wear Heels When You’re Eight Months Pregnant
we headed to Scandinavian candy shop Sockerbit with stylist Sarah Clary to talk maternity style (she made our white maternity toothpick jean her own with a dip-dye DIY)—and to indulge her sweet tooth a little, of course.
How has your style changed since becoming pregnant?
I’ve learned to keep it simple. Pattern doesn’t always work for my new shape, so I stick to basic colors with maybe a stripe here and there. Clothing that shows off my belly makes me feel more beautiful.
Do you have a go-to maternity outfit?
Dresses with stretch! For me, dresses that show off my belly rather than hiding it make me feel more confident about all the changes I’m going through. To create more outfit options, I pair crop tops or blouses that are too small over the dress, so it looks like a high-waist skirt.
How did the maternity toothpick work out for you? What do you like about it?
This maternity jean is a great fit and slimming. I have carried low throughout my pregnancy and most pants would slide south midday, but this one hugs perfectly under my belly.
Any nonmaternity clothes that ended up working really well for you during your pregnancy?
I’ve become very good at shopping my husband’s closet. I love his button-down shirts, sweaters and even pants. Don’t be afraid to go to the men’s department; some items can help when you are in between sizes.
What about shoes? We always see you wearing heels…
I love heels, so yes, I do continue to wear some of my favorites—but in moderation. And never so high that I feel uneasy walking. Kitten heels are a great balance, I feel sexy and low to the ground!
We love how you made the denim your own! Tell us about the DIY process you did on these.
I cut the bottom of the jeans off so they hit above my ankle and slit one knee. Then, I frayed the fabric with sandpaper and scissors and washed the jeans so they appeared more destroyed. I wanted an ombré-dyed look so I held the bottom of the pants in a cup of dye to the height I liked, holding the ends in longer so the dye was darker. They are far from perfect, but that’s what I love about them.
Yes, You Need to Hand Wash Your Cashmere (Don’t Dry Clean!)
contrary to popular belief, dry cleaning cashmere can actually be bad for the life of your sweater. the toxic chemicals used in dry cleaning can break down the fibers, and deodorant may cause discoloration. turns out, you should really be hand washing cashmere (it’ll be much softer too), so we asked Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd from The Laundress for their advice. here, they break it down for us…
De-pill delicate knits using the The Laundress New York® for J.Crew sweater comb by stroking firmly in one direction.
Use The Laundress New York for J.Crew collars & cuffs stain bar to tackle any stains or areas that trap odor.
Fill a washbasin or sink with cool water and add two capfuls of The Laundress New York for J.Crew cashmere wash. Submerge the sweater and make sure it is evenly soaped all over.
Soak for 30 minutes (don’t worry if the water becomes colored; this is normal and won’t mean any loss of color post-wash).
Rinse well by running cool water through the item until the water is no longer soapy. Press the water out gently without wringing.
Lay your sweater flat on a towel in its natural shape. Roll up the sweater in the towel (like a sleeping bag) to remove excess water. Lay the item flat in its natural shape on a drying rack or a clean towel.
Remove lint, fuzz and hair with the cashmere brush. Spray all over with The Laundress New York for J.Crew cashmere spray to add a fresh scent and repel moths.
Fold to prevent stretching and place in a bag with a zip closure. Be sure to stay away from storage bags that are made of polyester or plastic—you want to store your cashmere in bags that are made of breathable cotton or linen.
Photography by Eric Helgas.
To shop our entire assortment of cashmere, including featherweight cashmere, click here. To shop all The Laundress New York for J.Crew products, click here.
Bantu founder Yodit Eklund talks surf culture and sustainable production.
OUT OF AFRICA
I grew up all over Africa and now spend about 80 percent of my time traveling there for work. In 2009, I launched Bantu. I am a surfer and wanted to bring awareness to the continent’s under-the-radar beaches. There is more and more pollution because people don’t value the beaches in Africa. I thought if Bantu could expose people to the beaches, we could help preserve the environment.
We work with African designers to develop all our prints, which are based on wax cloth. Originally, wax cloth was brought over by Dutch traders; it stuck and has become a vital aspect of African culture today. We use the patterns of wax cloth and print them on technical fabric in Italy (the suits are all cut and sewn in Africa, though). Our craftswomen are trained to make seven styles of swimsuits, but we have so many prints that it ends up being a pretty big collection.
LENDING A HAND
One of Bantu’s aims is to create jobs and help the local economy while also changing the outside view of the continent. We employ around 30 Africans in Ethiopia, South Africa and the Ivory Coast. And this spring we also started sponsoring a surf club in Sierra Leone called the Bureh Beach Surf Club.
Photographs courtesy of Oroma Elewa for Bantu.
To shop our entire Discovered assortment, including Bantu Wax swim, click here.
if your Instagram feed is anything like ours, then you’ve fallen in love with illustrator Donald Robertson’s fanciful drawings. we sat down with the artist and father of five to talk inspiration, hashtags and his latest project for crewcuts.
Courtesy of VF.com
You’re the creative director at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics (a pretty full-time job, we imagine!), but you still find time to draw constantly. Do you sleep?
The other night I was heading up to bed when I noticed a brown banana in the kitchen. I thought, That almost looks like a cat print, so I posted a “cheetah banana” drawing and woke up to more than 2,000 likes. Would you sleep?
Your designs appear on three of our girls’ tees this season. What’s the story behind them?
Well, the idea for the besties tee came to me in an elevator. The girl with the baby giraffe is supposed to be a young Stella Tennant (a British model and former face of Chanel). I found these cool tubes of fabric paint you can draw with, and then I added more color. I think my vibe is kind of “J.Crew” to begin with.
We love how bright your work is. How do you approach using color?
My entire philosophy on color is rooted in an enormous pack of superbright magic markers a classmate of mine had in school. It’s burned into my brain!
You use some pretty unconventional materials, like googly eyes and ketchup, in your work. Anything else you’ve discovered lately?
I’ve been painting on cereal boxes. I’ll take the cereal out and then paint the Chanel logo on the cardboard. I don’t know why, but I just love it.
To shop our collection of Donald Robertson™ for crewcuts tees, click here.
Hong Kong, we’re officially here—and we brought treats! we’re celebrating our new store opening all week long with special trucks offering sweets, photo booths, balloons and more in the ifc mall oval atrium. here’s some of the fun in store…
Our four fabulous trucks: the flower truck, fun truck, treat truck and smile truck.
The treat truck serves juice from 1–3pm and popsicles from 4–7pm.
Flower power: we’re giving complimentary bouquets of blooms at the flower truck with your in-store purchase.
Bottled deliciousness from Hong Kong juicery BE-JUICED (available at the treat truck).
In the mood for a different type of flower? Our balloon artist can make you one at the fun truck from 2–7pm.
Pick up a tote bag made just for us with a map of cool spots in Hong Kong.
Popsicles “worth the brain freeze.”
One of our littlest customers snacks on his popsicle.
always fans of a handwritten note, we love the hand-drawn cards from Hartland Brooklyn—the company founded by fashion-designer-turned-illustrator Emily Johnson in 2012. we stopped by her charming studio, in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood, to see how she puts it all together.
TOWN & COUNTRY
Emily grew up on her parents’ flower farm in upstate New York—a place she still returns to for inspiration. “My grandma is a watercolor artist, and we used to sit together in the garden and paint flowers,” she recalls. The house is in a tiny town called Hartland, and I knew I wanted that to be a part of the company’s name. It tells a story about where I came from and where I ended up.”
Drawing birthday cards for colleagues became a hobby of Emily’s while she was working as a fashion designer. To keep up with the demand, she started a small line of stationery in 2010. “I never planned this,” she says. “I just loved the fact that cards didn’t have to be serious.” The process starts with her sketchbook—she’s never without it—and then she comes up with a clever phrase, like “roll with me.” “I always think about what would make me buy a card.”
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Hair by Vensette.
To shop our entire Discovered assortment, including the Hartland Brooklyn postcards, click here.
after years of obsessively documenting cocktails and hamburgers on social media, writer Joshua David Stein fell hardest for capturing two new little subjects—his sons.
There are four of us in the 27th row of a Delta flight out to SFO from JFK, but Achilles, my two-year-old, is stretched out across most of F, all of E and some of D, the seat wherein I’m sardined, hanging halfway into the aisle. My wife is similarly crammed into the window seat with Augustus—universally known as AuggieBehr—momentarily asleep in her arms. Though uncomfortable, we couldn’t be happier. Ana is watching Say Anything…—“It’s the first movie I’ve seen in two years!”—and I have a brief respite, during which the children are asleep, to work. Fatherhood: an uncomfortable crash position, happily assumed.
In no other relationship, that I can think of, is insane love with no upper limit not only tolerated but expected. If we stared at the people we date or even are married to as intently as we do at our children, it would be creepy. But I could stare for hours at Achilles just being Achilles, zoning out on the couch, one finger in his nose and the other deftly looping Caillou—the worst television show ever—on the iPad® over and over again. What, I wonder, is he thinking? How, I ponder, can he be so cute? When, I fear, will he notice I’m staring and say, “Papai, go away!”
Being a father is at once an immortalizing act and one that renders you painfully aware of the passage of time. They are little for so little time. I think to myself that soon, Achilles and Auggie will be surly teenagers, and later, young men with families of their own. Perhaps that explains my obsession with staring. I want to store as much of their faces—with their bulbous cheeks and unguarded expressions—in my mind as possible. This probably explains why there are so many babies and toddlers on Instagram and Facebook, none of whom asked to be there. And this definitely explains why there are so many photos of my own babies on my personal Facebook and Instagram feeds too.
The thing is, a few years ago, well before I was a father myself, I thought, “What kind of schmucks flood social media with photos of their progeny?” But now, not only do I post photos on Instagram and Facebook, but Achilles has his own hashtag (#achilles4president) and Augustus does too (#auggiebehr). Now, I understand that it seems criminal not to share their cuteness with the world. And so, a scroll through my feed reveals a 100-picture-long series of Achilles at the playground and a large portfolio of him sleeping. There are hashtags like #brothers, which features Achilles hugging/throttling AuggieBehr, as a toddler does. My wife even initiated a series called “The Library of A and A” that features choice editions from the boys’ library. (A tip: If You Want to See a Whale is perhaps the best children’s book ever.)
I have, in other words, become the cliché that I long hated, a hawker of cute, a baby-sharing maniac. But as I sit staring at Achilles, who is now moaning, “Ferris wheel, I no like it,” in a state of half sleep, I don’t mind the discomfort of my current position, half hanging out into the aisle, one bit. The truth is, what I could not have known back then, in my childless days of Instagramming cheeseburgers and cocktails, is just how boundless a father’s love really is. Now, not only do I share pictures of my children, but I also walk around the neighborhood wearing a bucket over my head because it makes Achilles laugh. It seems that it has taken actually having children to see how my staring and subsequent sharing of photos of them is just one attempt at slowing down time and capturing the moment. Maybe not this exact moment in which the drink cart keeps jostling my elbow and half my butt is asleep, but this is a head-over-heels love affair with my two little guys. They’re everything to me. And yes, that includes hashtags.
Writer Joshua David Stein frequently contributes to New York Magazine, the New York Times and the Sunday Times and he is a restaurant critic at the New York Observer. He lives in Harlem with his wife and two sons. He (rather humorously) documents his misadventures in 140-characters-or-less on Twitter at @fakejoshstein.
a quick Google image search reveals that Nick Wooster is one of those guys who can pull off just about anything. unsurprisingly, he’s the first guy who came to mind when our design team showed us this tartan short suit. here, Nick shows us how it’s done.
You’ve been known to rock a short suit on more than one occasion. In the spirit of nostalgia, do you remember your first?
The first time I wore a short suit was right after a Thom Browne spring/summer show in July 2010. All I can say is, it was actually a J.Crew Ludlow suit (seriously). And it got me in trouble for a dress-code violation.
We’re feeling your neon belt you’re wearing with your short suit today…
It’s a few years old. I don’t remember when I bought it but it’s Comme des Garçons. I also have a hot-pink one.
Growing up, what influenced your style?
Everything and everyone. In a weird Mad Men sort of way, my first memory is of the office of my grandfather’s stock brokerage firm in Wichita, Kansas. This was 1965 and I was five years old. All I knew was that I wanted to wear a suit for work. I think this has informed all my opinions about what constitutes being well dressed.
You seem like a big sartorial risk taker. Any general guidelines for guys attempting big style leaps of faith at home?
First of all, I always say no one should like this (I am pointing at myself). First and foremost, any sartorial risk or experiment should feel right. You have to go with your gut. But if something feels oddly exciting and different, why not go for it? Start small—it might be pairing white canvas sneakers with a navy suit. (Please make sure the fit is impeccable.) Or it might mean ditching the tie and buttoning up the top button of your shirt (aka an air tie). Or maybe a grosgrain belt. Or shorts with a jacket. Summer is the perfect time to expand your sartorial horizons. Always be sure to use your significant other as a sounding board.
Photography by Justin Chung.
To shop the Wallace & Barnes worker suit in in tartan cotton-linen, click here.
like all seasoned travelers, our Style Guide team are experts at bringing back little mementos from their trips. here, a look at some of their favorite finds from our June Style Guide shoot in Rajasthan, India’s (jaw-droppingly beautiful) largest state.
Spotted: Two of our models in the Udaipur City Palace in southern Rajasthan, a series of interconnected palaces made entirely from marble and granite.
Made in the USA: J.Crew x New Balance® 998 Independence Day sneaker
we headed all the way up to Maine to see our latest New Balance collaboration come together.
Stepping out of the car at New Balance’s Skowhegan, Maine, factory you immediately pick up on two things: You probably should have worn boots (there’s a lot of snow on the ground for April) and you probably shouldn’t mention the Yankees (the uniform here seems to require a red “B”). It’s not the type of place you’d expect would generate effusive Internet commentary or serve as a sneakerhead mecca, but that’s exactly what it is. So here we are, because if you want to see some of the last shoe craftspeople in Maine make some of the most sought after sneakers in the world, this is where you go.
“We—New Balance—were the best-kept secret here for years,” says line supervisor Margaret Daigle proudly, and she would know, having 33 years of experience at the company under her belt. She raises her voice to be heard over the buzz and chirp of the factory lines, which have just come alive this morning, all in service of creating 998 Independence Day sneakers, which, right now, are just piles of red, white and blue parts.
Walking the brightly lit assembly floor it’s hard not to notice that, despite the modern technology, making sneakers is still very much a hands-on business of cutting, stitching and finishing. Susan Collier, who’s responsible for employee learning and development, sums it up well: “As you can see, there aren’t robots out here putting these shoes together. It’s a craft.”
The factory’s lines are each capable of producing up to 600 pairs of athletic shoes a day, and a goal sign lets everybody know how they’re doing in real time (every finished pair gets tallied as it comes off the line). But nobody is going to get anything done until Oscar Brann (14 years on the job) fills the rolling carts high with pigskin sourced from a local Maine factory. Thankfully, Brann works the die-cutting machine like a pro—’cause he is one.
True, there are no robots here. But there are a lot of American flags: some tucked into machines, some found on workers wearing T-shirts with New Balance’s “Made Here” logo. Unsurprisingly, there are some pretty strong feelings associated with what the logo represents. “There is unbelievable amount of pride in this building around making a made-in-the-USA product,” says Collier. Daigle agrees, “I wouldn’t want them made anywhere else. We take a lot of pride in what we do.”
A few hours later, the completed 998s are being nestled into their boxes—the only ones this factory will ever make—and everyone is breaking for lunch. Employees head for their cars or for one of the Ping-Pong tables downstairs. I quiz people on their plans for the Fourth of July and common themes take shape: family, fireworks and barbecues at lakeside camps—not houses, as the locals quickly correct me.
I pose the same question about plans for the Fourth to Brann, and he wants to know if I want an honest answer. (Of course I do.) “Fish and drink beer,” he says with a smile.
as a New York–based fashion designer, mother of two, art collector and candy-shop owner, Cynthia Rowley is something of a modern-day Renaissance woman. (you know, if Renaissance women wore bonded neoprene leggings.) she’s also a die-hard surfer, so it’s no surprise that when she couldn’t find surf gear to wear out on the water in Montauk, she designed her own.
“I’m never not in a wetsuit,” says Cynthia of her time spent out in Montauk, where she has a weekend home with her husband, Bill Powers, and their daughters, Kit and Gigi. “You can wear a wetsuit to swim, for scuba diving, water sports. It’s great sun protection.”
Rowley, who has been surfing (or “trying to surf” as her husband jokes) for the past 14 years, says that the addition of swimsuits, rash guards and wetsuits to her apparel collection was largely inspired by her own love of being on the water. “I love designing our swimwear so much that some days it’s all I want to do,” she says. “I definitely make a better designer than a surfer though.”
Every May, Cynthia takes her design team on a trip to the beach to get them on the water and familiarize them with what makes a good wetsuit. “Early on when we started designing wetsuits, some of the design team didn’t know things unique to surfing, like that zippers need to be in the back or that there’s wax on the top of the board,” she says. For her collaboration with J.Crew, Cynthia took her classic neoprene wetsuit and created two colorways just for us. Little details like welded seams, side zips and a Velcro® back closure are carefully considered—and practical. “The wetsuit is cut high, so it feels a bit sexy,” she says. “It’s fashionable, but it’s also totally functional.”
Photography by Bryan Derballa.
To shop the Cynthia Rowley for J.Crew colorblock wetsuit, click here.
one of the best parts of being involved with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is getting to work with up-and-coming talent, since each spring, we collaborate with the winners and runners-up on a capsule collection. this year, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund runner-up, eveningwear designer Juan Carlos Obando, gave us a closer look as the inspiration behind his collection.
We were struck by how beautiful your office is—it’s like an art gallery curated with thoughtful objects.
Honestly, I have always been obsessed with bookstores and wanted to recreate that feeling in my office. I love books. I’m constantly drawing upon them for inspiration or to get an idea going. As for the objects, they’re mostly things I find on my trips—some are rare and old, others are just witty and new, but they make me smile and remember certain moments in my life.
Clearly your background in graphic design has influenced your aesthetic. Tell us a bit more about this transition from art director at Saatchi & Saatchi to fashion designer?
I think that transition hasn’t really happened yet! It’s so funny, people ask this question a lot. I do have things that heavily influence my collections and some of them really come from my interest in graphic design—from the design of the show itself to the lookbooks and garment construction. I think of it as one interlinked narrative.
We’re told you have 1,024 books in your collection. Any favorites?
Juergen Teller is fantastic, and Bruce Weber and really any issue of Egoïste are at the top of my list. And, for sure, anything from Matthew Barney and Richard Serra.
What do you love about 192 Books in Chelsea?
I really love it here—the lighting is great and it’s supercomfortable to browse through books in a tranquil
environment. I purchased a Raymond Pettibon book I had been tracking for a while too.
Safe to say these design and art books act as a kind of muse for you when you’re designing?
Always. And sometimes they tell you what to avoid—it all works as a great educational source.
When you think about the pieces you created for us at J.Crew—a silk georgette blouse, a mixed-media jumpsuit, a flouncy polka-dot skirt—do any books in particular come to mind?
I’ll have to go with All-American by Bruce Weber.
one of the best parts of being involved with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is getting to work with up-and-coming talent, since each spring, we collaborate with the winners and runners-up on a capsule collection. this year, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund runner-up, fine jewelry designer Marc Alary, tried his hand at costume jewelry just for J.Crew.
Marc told us the Metropolitan Museum of Art is often a source of inspiration for him so we tagged along on a recent visit.
You went to art school originally, what drew you to fine jewelry making?
I started out doing illustrations, but I was always frustrated that I couldn’t carry the illustration with me; I needed to have something I could hold in my hand. Eventually, I started working in fashion doing prints and graphics for T-shirts. It added a new dimension to my work as it related to the body, yet it still wasn’t enough. It was only when I first tried my hand at jewelry that I knew it was what I wanted to do.
Is there a particular period of art you feel is closest to the aesthetic of your jewelry?
That is a good question, but I’m not sure I have exactly the right answer. I’d say Etruscan art and the end of the nineteenth-century Art Nouveau and Lalique. Then there are artists who came much later—Calder, Giacometti and Les Lalanne.
What are your favorite parts of the Met?
I love the Greek and Roman art for the lighting in the gallery, as well as all the tones of the marble statues. But I also love the medieval art and European paintings.
How did animals come to play such a prevalent role in your jewelry design?
My mom was very passionate about animals, and she used to collect books and magazines like National Geographic. I spent most of my childhood flipping through those magazines and fantasizing about seeing those incredible animals in real life.
Apart from the Met, where else do you find inspiration?
In pretty much everything, from something I see in the street or at the flea market to literature (for example, the opera, The Tales of Hoffmann). It could be a show, a ballet or an opera, or a detail of a sculpture or a fountain.
What was it like to work with J.Crew on a collection of costume pieces?
It was very interesting as the turnaround time was very different. I had to let go of controlling every single aspect of the development because normally every prototype is done by hand in my atelier in the garment district. But it was a great experience.
when photographer Matt Hranek isn’t documenting his travels on his blog, The William Brown Project, he can be found at his house in upstate New York escaping for low-key weekends fishing and cooking with his family. here’s what’s always in his bag…
Last-minute packer or plan-ahead packer?
I always pack one day ahead for a trip (I hate the anxiety of not having what I need or being under-geared), but I’m less stressed when I’m just going to my house in the country.
Anything you won’t travel without?
I don’t travel without some camera (right now it’s the Sony RX100, an amazing point-and-shoot) or a sturdy tote.
Favorite travel companion?
My favorite travel companion is, without a doubt, my wife, Yolanda. We’re a great team and generally love the same things (she doesn’t fish or hunt but humors my pursuits).
How do you keep busy?
Activities upstate are pretty mellow and spontaneous. There is always some fishing, foraging and swimming. But the main activity is eating and drinking; we have great products in upstate New York to cook with and generally spend the whole day talking about what we’ll prepare for dinner.
Any local spots you could suggest to us?
The Catskills are one of the most magical spots in the Northeast—I just love driving there. One of my favorite places to go is the Alpine Wurst & Meat House not too far away in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. It’s like you just drove to Bavaria; they smoke and cure all their own meats, make the most amazing German sausages and have great old-school butchers on site. They also have a killer little German restaurant, which is terrific for lunch.
Where are you hoping to go next?
I am really lucky that my job takes me all over the place but I am really ready for an extensive trip to Japan. I need to tick that one off the list big time.