For years, J.Crew has been the fashion leader of preppy staples and crisp prints. The brand has been spotted on everyone from Kate Middleton to Michelle Obama and is a staple among southern fashion influencers. Much of the brand’s recent success is due to none other than Jenna Lyons, who oversaw all product design, visual and brand presentation.
However, the household name brand has fallen on hard times recently. According to Fortune, “comparable sales at J.Crew fell 6.7 percent in the fiscal year that recently ended, on top of an 8.2 percent drop the year before. A two-year sales slump has also left the merchandiser with $2 billion in debt, which has led to bankruptcy whispers throughout the industry.”
Earlier this week, news that Lyons will be leaving J.Crew shocked the fashion world. The split is apparently mutual, according to J.Crew’s CEO Mickey Drexler, who noted that Lyons will stay on as creative advisor for the retailer until her contract runs out in December. “She has made many significant contributions to J.Crew and has built an incredibly talented team,” Drexler said in a statement. “J.Crew is focused on continuing the progress underways as we execute on our strategic initiatives and position the Company for the long term.”
Lyons not only served as creative director, but also took on the role as the public face for the brand. Her signature dark-rimmed glasses and blazers were spotted all over the fashion scene at openings and events, making her a public embodiment of the brand. While she has not announced her next steps, she is sure to continue the legacy she created during her time at J.Crew.