This Week’s Discovery

Indego Africa™ for J.Crew cloth wrap bracelets
So much more than your average bracelet. We love this wraparound style from Indego Africa, a nonprofit project dedicated to providing women artisans in Rwanda the opportunity to sell their beautifully handcrafted pieces to the rest of the world while supporting themselves and their families. And that’s just the beginning: All proceeds are used to create business and literacy programs that encourage entrepreneurship and empower the artisans to become independent businesswomen. These exclusive-to-us bracelets are made from Dutch wax fabric (renowned for its durability and considered a symbol of African solidarity) locally sourced from the markets of Kigali, which the women visit each week to look for the most vibrant colors that perfectly capture the spirit of summer. The final touch: Each bracelet is individually signed by the artist so it’s absolutely unique—much like its story.
An artisan carefully measures a section of Dutch wax fabric.
How the pieces come together.
A group of women pose with some of their finished products—colorful necklaces.


Tune In: Pamela Love’s Playlist

the jewelry designer turned denim diehard gives us
a sneak peek at her music library—and the songs
that inspire her irresistibly cool collections
1. Wild Yaks, “Tomahawk

2. Dead Moon, “Dead Moon Night

3. Gogol Bordello, “I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again

4. Pierced Arrows, “Let It Rain

5. Royal Trux, “Liar

6. White Magic, “Shine on Heaven

7. Black Lips, “Best Napkin I Ever Had

8. Nu Sensae, “Skull Mecca

9. The Hunches, “Not Invented

10. Black Angels, “Better Off Alone

This Week’s Discovery

Soludos® for J.Crew espadrilles
When it comes to summer shoes, Soludos has proven there’s life beyond flip-flops—and the name, a combination of the Spanish words sol (sun) and salud (cheers), is the perfect qualifier. When founder and designer Nick Brown moved stateside, he set out to recreate the simple, laid-back espadrilles he wore growing up—the ones sold in the markets and along the beaches of the Mediterranean: “We use authentic weaving and dyeing techniques, so they’re just like their international counterparts.” The jute-soled, eco-friendly styles have a few special twists, like three exclusive-to-us colors and fabrics. And since they’re the price of just a few cervezas, we recommend stocking up on more than one pair. Salud!

Clockwise from top left:
Founder Nick Brown shows off his espadrilles; inspiration for the Soludos for J.Crew collaboration; A Perfect Summer Day shot in Montauk, New York.

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(images courtesy of Soludos®)

D.I.Y. Design: Soludos Espadrilles

we enlisted some 770 staffers to decorate their own pair of Soludos®—
what started out as blank canvases ended up being very stylish works of art.
here’s how they chose to express themselves…
Clockwise from top left:

“A painterly sailor stripe is classic J.Crew. I swiped on this really great indigo fabric dye, then I added bleach to give it a faded look at the creases to mimic worn-in denim (of course!).”
—Aubrey, our denim designer

“Picasso always donned these shoes! With a Sharpie in hand, I thought of him as I drew these Spanish tile patterns. Then I decorated them with bright embroidery thread.”
—Tracy, our prop stylist

“I sewed a chain of rhinestones onto the soles of mine. My inspiration speaks for itself!”
—Allison, one of our women’s stylists

“I think the accents on gold-leaf teacups are beautiful, so I painted the toes and soles of my Soludos this rich metallic color. It offsets the red perfectly, for a fun reinterpretation.”
—Jenny, one of our web designers

“A doodled version, using a Sharpie, of the anchor print we used throughout our women’s summer collection.”
—Aaron, one of our women’s designers

“Alison and I love this peach color. We just brushed on watercolor paint to get the tie-dyed look.”
—Catherine (with Alison), two of our web designers

This Week’s Discovery

the Madewell Storyteller Scarf
You might have heard how in love we are with Madewell here at J.Crew. Quick style backstory: Madewell started in 1937 as a denim brand, and now, besides being jeans makers, they’re our go-to for easy dresses, indigo tees and cool scarves. Here’s something new that’s making a cameo in our closets this summer. On a weekend trip to Los Angeles, Joyce, one of Madewell’s accessories designers, snapped an iPhone picture of a few palm trees against the azure California sky. She brought the image back to her fellow designer, Nichole, who hand collaged a turn-of-the-century map of LA over it. “We found this vintage atlas with all these amazing maps,” says Nichole. “The simple typography adds a nice graphic element over the vibrant blues of the snapshot.” The final product is a truly unique scarf worth building an entire outfit around.
A snapshot of Nichole’s sketchbook—and a peek at how it all came together.

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This Week’s Discovery

the tuxedo shirt in Thomas Mason® fabric
Forget “borrowed from the boys.” This is one style we’re never giving back. The third piece from the gentleman’s trifecta of black-tie dressing—the tuxedo shirt—is arguably the sexiest thing in a woman’s wardrobe. Immaculately tailored in pure Italian cotton from Thomas Mason, the English mill that’s been outfitting gentlemen since 1796, it strikes just the right balance of timeless elegance and come-hither allure. But we can’t take all the credit—we took a cue from tuxedo-donning ladies throughout the ages, from 1930s silver-screen icon Marlene Dietrich to Helmut Newton’s sleekly suited models of the 1970s. Our stylist, Gayle, tells us how to give it an of-the-moment spin: “Pair it with skinny white pants and our citrus-hued Viv flats—and push up the sleeves for a sultry, rumpled summer look.” Like we said, we’re never giving it back.

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D.I.Y. Design: Hat Trick

one of our supertalented stylists, Allison, gave our men’s baseball cap a chic makeover
with a swipe of paint. it resulted in some pretty cool pattern play—so cool, in fact,
that the hat ended up in the pages of our May Style Guide. here’s how you can D.I.Y.
A baseball cap (like this)
gaffer tape
sponge brush
primer (like this)
acrylic paint (Allison prefers this kind by Liquitex)

(All art supplies can be found at or at your local art supplies store.)
Step 1: Measure 1” away from the center seam on both sides of the hat. Make sure you measure underneath the bill and the back of the hat so that the stripe extends as far as the eye can see.

Step 2: Tape it off. Since the hat is round, cut notches in the tape so it will stay in a straight line around the curves (this is very important!). Make sure the adhesive is firmly stuck to the surface of the hat before moving on.
Step 3: Using your sponge brush, paint on the primer—it gives the hat a rubbery, nonporous texture, which takes paint really well.

Step 4: Blend the paint colors of your choice in a cup until you get the shade you’re going for. (Here, Allison mixed white, teal green and hunter green.)
Step 5: Paint! Then, let dry, preferably overnight.

Step 6: When you’re sure that it’s completely dry, gently peel the tape off.
Hat’s off! The finished product.
D.I.Y. obsessed like Allison? Check out one of her favorite sites, Design Sponge, for more inspiration.

This Week’s Discovery

the Thomas Mason® shirt
Let’s step into our time machine for a moment, shall we? It’s 1796 and the English Industrial Revolution is in full force—ships are docked in Yorkshire harbors, loaded for the first time ever with cotton from the West Indies, and an industrious textile merchant named Sir Thomas Mason heads to Leeds to found one of the first-ever cotton mills. The fabrics quickly become a favorite of West End tailors outfitting the aristocracy, and in the 1920s, Thomas Mason is appointed the exclusive supplier
to the royal family’s shirtmaker. Today, the house continues to create shirting using the most luxurious two-ply Italian cotton that’s worn by the best-dressed men this side of Savile Row and Madison Avenue. Two hundred years later and long story short, these are some seriously nice shirts.
The official Thomas Mason handbook (aka the history of our favorite shirt ever).

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This Week’s Discovery

the Ella dress in garden floral
On a recent quest to redecorate her Brooklyn apartment, one of our women’s designers snapped
up a roll of vintage wallpaper featuring this painterly floral. Working with our in-house print
illustrator to reinterpret the design, she played around with the scale and injected lively splashes
of color among the flowers to recall “a late-summer garden that’s at full bloom—totally wild and unrestrained.” We’re pairing it with stripe styles for a bit of laid-back pattern play—and a little
Palm Beach via Park Slope vibe.

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

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