A Moment with…Nellystella®

once we discovered Nellystella, a line of charming children’s wear (imagine the
kind of fanciful creations little girls might design for themselves), we just couldn’t
keep it to ourselves. we caught up with Taipei-based designer Nelly Chen on
her recent visit to New York to meet the newest member of the crewcuts family…
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Designer Nelly Chen is wearing our flower lattice necklace and was photographed
by Shawn Brackbill in New York City.
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How did you get started designing children’s wear?
“I studied design at Parsons, in Paris and New York. Paris was so inspiring: Our
weekly drawing lessons would take place at the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée Rodin
and other historical landmarks. But New York is the city to be in for fashion. After
college, I was initially interested in designing bridal and women’s wear, but while I
was freelancing in the kids’ division I realized how much I enjoyed it. Things kind
of just happened from there…”

Tell us a bit about the line.
“Quality, comfort and charm are the essence of our brand. For summer, our look is
fun and fresh, with bright colors and embellishments. You’ll see details like
dragonfly and daisy prints, and neon-pink-thread pom-poms.”

So where does the “stella” in “Nellystella” come from?
“ ‘Stella’ is the Latin and Italian word for ‘star,’ and I think of Nellystella as
catching the sparkling eyes of little girls. I do think about the parents too when I
design, but my clothes are really all about the girls and what they want to wear. The
Nellystella girl has her own unique sense of style.”

Now that you live in Taipei, what tops your list of the places you must visit when
you’re back in New York?

PS1: “I really like the space and vibe of this museum, especially in the summertime.
They have a great magazine section—and M. Wells Dinette is on my list of places to
eat on my next trip to New York.”

Tinsel Trading: “This store is a must-go for me. I’m obsessed with the vintage
metal ribbon and vintage flower collections. I go out of control here!

The Highline: “The Chelsea/Meatpacking area is one of my favorites in New York.
I love how this park has become a playground for artists. And I always pop by
Chelsea Market when I’m in the neighborhood…”

Hampton Chutney Co.: “I order grilled portobello mushroom dosa and orange
ginger iced tea.”

In addition to your travels, where do you find inspiration for your line?
“Movies are always inspiring. One of my recent favorites was Anna Karenina—
the costumes and cinematography were so beautiful. My other new obsession is
Pinterest [follow her at Nellystella]. I’m a very visual person, so it
helps me to organize!”

Shop our selection of Nellystella styles here.

D.I.Y. Design: Caught Blue-handed

our crewcuts designers set up shop in a Brooklyn backyard
to try their hand at indigo-dyeing our kids’
Converse® Jack Purcell® sneakers.
here’s how they created these one-of-a-kind kicks…
Indigo’s origins: Indigo is a natural dye that comes from the indigo plant and has a long and beautiful history as a dyestuff—it was mentioned in manuscripts found in India that date back to the 4th century BC!

The dye process: An indigo dye bath is a little finicky to prepare because it is a natural plant material and is more sensitive than a chemical dye bath. It’s important to presoak(1) the items that you are dyeing so that the dye can penetrate the material properly. The trickiest part of the process is getting a specifically desired level of saturation or evenness—we had a lot of happy mistakes!

Why so blue: We’ve done bright colors before, but this time it was really about the ritual of the indigo dye itself—the craftsmanship that goes into making and maintaining the dye bath; the natural, spontaneous results of the hand-dyeing process and the saturated, inky blue color inherent only to this special process.

Fun fact: The bath is actually a green color(2) when prepared—it’s only after the dyed item comes in contact with the air that it oxidizes and reveals the blue color(3).

Wear and tear: A cool part about using indigo versus other dyes is that these shoes will age like your favorite pair of jeans, with dye loss at points of wear (think whisker marks and weathered knees). They get so much cooler with age!

For big kids: Who knows, there may be an adult’s version soon. We dyed a few of our own garments and shoes with supercool results—the men’s and women’s design teams have been ogling us for weeks!

These blue beauties will be available exclusively at our Prince Street store starting today!

(Post by Rob S., Liz K., and Elsinore C.)

Woolen Wonderland

we asked the knitting aficionados from Wool and the Gang™
to create the window displays for our crewcuts Madison Avenue store
(get ready to feel all warm and fuzzy…)

WOOL AND THE GANG For Crewcuts on Vimeo.

Tee Tales

Erin, the designer of our whimsical,
totally cool kids’ graphic tees, gives us
a look behind the design
Her inspiration: I love old designs from the past—whether it’s children’s books, posters or sports memorabilia. Design was more like art then—done by hand, not computer generated. It had more soul. I’ve also based designs on everything from hieroglyphics to the insignia on a piece of china.
Plus, having a son is a great resource—I love checking out what the kids are wearing when I drop him off at school. And I’m always asking his friends: “What are some of your favorite animals?” “What kinds of things do you like to do?”

Like mother, like son: I once based a girls’ tee on a painting my son made when he was 3½! It was a dot painting—very minimal, with an interesting use of color and layout. One day I was looking at it and there it was: the stamped happy-face design. Thanks, Ray!

One-of-a-kind designs: I try to add a new spin or a quirky twist to every design, whether it’s through word play, an obscure sport or the use of color. Every design is an original. With the girls’ graphics, I’ll sometimes add a tomboy twist (because I’m a bit of a tomboy myself), like putting a sequin heart on a sporty baseball tee.

Do it yourself: Making your own graphic tee is the perfect rainy-day activity. My favorite fabric markers are by Marvy. They smell a bit, so I recommend opening a window, but I love them because they have all these great neons.

Mask Party

Web designer and mask marauder Rachel
gives us the skinny on her customizable, downloadable
Halloween masks (for kids and kidults alike)
One of the highlights of working on the Web design team? Using our collective store of markers, pens, tape and ribbon for impromptu craft sessions—like the one where we decorated the Halloween masks I made for our crewcuts site.

For the original inspiration, I pulled from some beloved classic Halloween motifs like the Marx brothers, masquerades and Alice in Wonderland and combined them with playful, surreal optical patterns. The heart mask is my favorite. (I think it might also reveal a subconscious longing for this Comme des Garçons sweater?)

Download the pdf here, then show off your creations on our Facebook page.

(post by Rachel Domm)

D.I.Y. Cute

just in time for back-to-school, one of our stylists
shares her tips on personalizing Jack Purcells®
for little ones (we’re jumping on the bandwagon too)
Get inspired:
The shoes above were inspired by Gauguin’s paintings in Tahiti and ikat textiles from Uzbekistan. Check out the V&A museum for more ideas.

Design:
Keep it simple! The shoes have lots of nooks and crannies, and the rough canvas makes detail nearly impossible. Take into consideration the lines of the shoes and consider how your design will fit in with the stitch lines, piping and lace holes.

Color:
Use Prismacolor markers, and buy extra since they run out really fast! You’ll have to go over your pattern multiple times to get saturated colors.

Add texture:
In keeping with your inspiration, find sew-on beads, rhinestones, prong-set studs, etc. (don’t bother with stuff you have to glue). Changing the laces to a unique trim also helps add a custom touch. Each kid’s sneaker takes 1 to 1.3 yards per shoe, and you can find lots of trims and things here.

In love with these one-of-a-kind shoes? This pair and others are available at our crewcuts Tribeca store.

Staffers’ Sum–sentials

770 staffers’ seven can’t-be-summer-without-them items.
Sunglasses! They’re an easy way to
make it look like you have style,
even on those days you don’t!
–Marissa Webb, head of women’s design
Marissa, head of women’s design:
Panama Hat– “I pick up a new one every summer. It’s a must for bad hair days.”; Cutler and Gross® sunglasses; Bumble South surf spray; brightly colored scarves– “They have so many end uses; I carry at least two in my beach bag.”; my bike; pedicures are a must; Bhati Beads– “as arm candy to layer in with my usual gold.”

Dwight, men’s designer:
Honest Tea’s half tea & half lemonade (aka “Arnold Palmer”); J. Crew board shorts; J. Crew lightweight button-down shirts; Telescope 741 awning-stripe beach chair; Island Slipper flip-flops; Igloo marine cooler; Beastie Boys’ “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.”

Jenny Cooper, head crewcuts design whiz:
J.Crew high-waisted polka-dot bikini with our men’s oxford popover; California Baby® sunscreen for the whole family; K. Jacques slip-ons; quirky mysteries like Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri; Lemlem® cover-up; water pistols for the boys and our crewcuts mini-diamond swim shorts– “because they look like regular shorts but they are made in swim fabric—so the boys don’t need to change to take a dip on a hot day!”

Margot, marketing honcho:
J.Crew navy blue polka-dot bikini; my new patent leather Birkenstocks® from Madewell; Murad waterproof sunblock; iPad with a great beach read; The Lion King DVD– “to play in the car for my 2-year old during the long drive to the Hamptons.”; essie® Clambake nail polish; a big straw hat.

Lizza, marketing mademoiselle:
Summer uniform: matchstick jeans and a navy-stripe bateau top with capri sandals; tomato sandwiches (heirloom tomato, white bread, mayo, salt and pepper); Sea Bags®– “perfectly sized to fit everything for a weekend at the beach.”; LIRR 10-trip pass to the last stop, Montauk; Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters; Annie Hall– “for rainy days.”; Carole King (Tapestry).

Will, doyen of marketing design:
My English Brompton titanium Superlight folding bike; Filson® medium duffle weekend bag; my grandfather’s 1963 Omega Speedmaster Professional watch with a NATO strap for summer; Ray-Ban® Caravan sunglasses; Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale; Quoddy® boat shoes; my Leica D-Lux camera.

Kim, buyer extraordinaire:
Vintage beach tote from Maine; mint chocolate chip ice cream from The Caboose in Cape Cod– “I have been going there since I can remember and cannot wait to take my daughter, Millie, there this summer. It is a family tradition!”; a straw hat; California Baby® sunscreen; Lotta Stensson’s beach cover-up; J.Crew Maryanne suede wedges in yellow; cropped white jeans with the perfect white blazer.

Trish, arbiter of online assortment:
Husband and kids; a beach; Kiehl’s sunblock; iPad; Marni sunglasses my kids got me for my birthday; my Schwinn bike; ALWAYS a hat!

Alison, web design ace:
Deborah Lippmann Yellow Brick Road nail polish; BAGGU® backpack; vintage-inspired swimsuits– “My fave is the J.Crew neon floral tank.”; Vita Coco coconut water; Salt-Water® sandals; vintage Levi’s® 501® cutoffs; my mom’s old, round Ray-Ban® sunglasses.

Holly, marketing design gal:
Worishofer sandals– “These sandals keep my feet happy when pounding the pavement.”; Turkish cotton towels; oversized sunglasses– “to keep the wrinkles at bay.”; J.Crew summer straw hat; essie® nail polish in Trombone; fresh mint– “from the farmer’s market for homemade mojitos with friends.”; plane tickets.

Dulci, catalog design chica:
Vintage Ray-Ban® Nueco sunglasses; J.Crew patent t-strap sandals– “I go for the black—they look perfect with a cherry red pedicure.”; Trader Joe’s sea salt body scrub; Bumble and bumble Creme de Coco conditioner; Presents for Purpose monogrammed travel backgammon set; Madewell Tulum dress; Nikon 3100 camera.

Check out our seven pieces to update your summer wardrobe on jcrew.com.

The tee for animal lovers, this limited-edition knit rallies support for the National Wildlife Federation. The tee is on the cover of the new Papier Mache issue, which is worth checking out for the photographs and well-designed featured items—even if you
don’t have little ones. 

(photo credit: Papier Mache and Amanda Pratt)

The tee for animal lovers, this limited-edition knit rallies support for the National Wildlife Federation. The tee is on the cover of the new Papier Mache issue, which is worth checking out for the photographs and well-designed featured items—even if you don’t have little ones. 
(photo credit: Papier Mache and Amanda Pratt) The tee for animal lovers, this limited-edition knit rallies support for the National Wildlife Federation. The tee is on the cover of the new Papier Mache issue, which is worth checking out for the photographs and well-designed featured items—even if you don’t have little ones. 
(photo credit: Papier Mache and Amanda Pratt)

Jenna, our commander in chic is always teaching us to borrow from the boys, a trend we’ve been seeing around our office at 770 in a little way, with crewcuts boy blazers. Holly, crewcuts boys merchant, Michelle, crewcuts girls designer and I, wearing our favorite crewcuts boy blazers along with a few tips on this trend.
1. Find your perfect fit.
Be sure to check crewcutkids.com for sizes 0-14. Just because it’s labeled as kids doesn’t mean it can’t fit into your wardrobe.
2. Mix in feminine details. 
Adding feminine details when borrowing from the boys helps balance the blazer, and gives you an effortlessly chic look:Michelle wore her blazer over a crewcuts girls’ skirt with bright “where are you summer?” orange lipstick (hers is MAC Morange).
3. Finish it off with fun personal touches.
Each of us finished off our outfits with whimsical details from sequin pins to oversized jewels, to personalize our looks; after all, you can’t help but feel kind of like a kid again when wearing crewcuts.

(post by Kelly Wang)

Jenna, our commander in chic is always teaching us to borrow from the boys, a trend we’ve been seeing around our office at 770 in a little way, with crewcuts boy blazers. Holly, crewcuts boys merchant, Michelle, crewcuts girls designer and I, wearing our favorite crewcuts boy blazers along with a few tips on this trend.1. Find your perfect fit. Be sure to check crewcutkids.com for sizes 0-14. Just because it’s labeled as kids doesn’t mean it can’t fit into your wardrobe.2. Mix in feminine details. Adding feminine details when borrowing from the boys helps balance the blazer, and gives you an effortlessly chic look:Michelle wore her blazer over a crewcuts girls’ skirt with bright “where are you summer?” orange lipstick (hers is MAC Morange).3. Finish it off with fun personal touches.Each of us finished off our outfits with whimsical details from sequin pins to oversized jewels, to personalize our looks; after all, you can’t help but feel kind of like a kid again when wearing crewcuts.
(post by Kelly Wang) Jenna, our commander in chic is always teaching us to borrow from the boys, a trend we’ve been seeing around our office at 770 in a little way, with crewcuts boy blazers. Holly, crewcuts boys merchant, Michelle, crewcuts girls designer and I, wearing our favorite crewcuts boy blazers along with a few tips on this trend.1. Find your perfect fit. Be sure to check crewcutkids.com for sizes 0-14. Just because it’s labeled as kids doesn’t mean it can’t fit into your wardrobe.2. Mix in feminine details. Adding feminine details when borrowing from the boys helps balance the blazer, and gives you an effortlessly chic look:Michelle wore her blazer over a crewcuts girls’ skirt with bright “where are you summer?” orange lipstick (hers is MAC Morange).3. Finish it off with fun personal touches.Each of us finished off our outfits with whimsical details from sequin pins to oversized jewels, to personalize our looks; after all, you can’t help but feel kind of like a kid again when wearing crewcuts.
(post by Kelly Wang)

© 2014 by J.Crew. All Images and materials are copyrighted by J.Crew unless otherwise noted.

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