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post #103096 of 109053

Mickey Drexler has done an amazing job of reviving J. Crew. (J Crew has been around for like 30 years). He basically wiped the floor with The Gap after he left there ten years ago. He was able to capture the nascent heritage/new-prep trend and imbue somewhat stale prep basics with sex appeal... whether we like it or not.

post #103097 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinnedk View Post

What's good at jcrew?

Serious?  The knits, especially the light cotton cashmere ones that are like $70, are a pretty good basic buy.  Whatever you think of the company, they have some talented designers and patternmakers working for them, and they have fits that will work on most body types.  The outerwear, especially at sales times (which are pretty frequent) are a great value proposition.  Is it exciting?  No.  But most people are not looking for amazing clothes.  Pretty much anything made for the Ludlow collection is of much better materials than anything I've ever seen from Beams+.  The Japanese stores like Ships also do higher end lines, but ime, the higher end J Crew stuff easily hangs with them.

 

I get things like Blue Blue Japan and Samurai sashiko jackets from Japan, as well as streetwear brands like Sophnet, two completely separate categories, though they can often easily be worn together.  The former is strictly nerd stuff, and it is quite well made and the materials and treatments are pretty special, but they serve a niche audience.  So do companies like Ironheart or Stevenson Overall Co.  The streetwear stuff I get because I think that it looks cool.  The materials and craftsmanship of something like the Sophnet boots I got, which retail at about $450 in Japan (that is obviously underpriced right now because of the low value of the Yen), and for $600 or so in the US and Canada, can't hold a candle to something like Viberg, or the lower priced,  Alden.  It's day and night.  The leather used is not of the same quality, and the make is clearly inferior.  But I buy them because I like the style.  

post #103098 of 109053
i was 1/2 serios, partially was just messing cuz sf likes jcrew a lot but good answer nonetheless
post #103099 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post
 

Mickey Drexler has done an amazing job of reviving J. Crew. (J Crew has been around for like 30 years). He basically wiped the floor with The Gap after he left there ten years ago. He was able to capture the nascent heritage/new-prep trend and imbue somewhat stale prep basics with sex appeal... whether we like it or not.

To expand on this, even as late as the early 2000s, J Crew was a place for lame preppy basics.  It was just coming out of an identity as a catalogue brand - my wife remembers lusting after J Crew stuff in high school.  This was the same time that the core Gap brand had really lost it's way, after a period of incredible strength.  As with many things, it had lost its core identity.  I remember going into the store in Pasadena and seeing, alongside carpenter pants (raise hand if you remember that trend), things like leather pants, as well as leather trucker jackets (the second pretty well done, but besides the point), the point being that someone had the bright idea that should move away from the very successfull "khakis" concept and to be a full fledged fashoon brand.  And no one was buying the $500 leather jackets.  I passed on a jacket at $149, I remember.  Banana Republic at that time was still strong, and Old Navy was killing it quarter over quarter, so the company kept up, but the core GAP brand was in shambles.  

 

After a few years of dismal earnings, Mickey Drexler resigned, and we didn't really hear much from him for a while.  iirc, he was already working a bit with Andy Spade on his boutique marketing firm, which Andy Spade was concentrating on after the Spades sold Kate Spade.  In any case, he was picked up by J Crew, and immediately, they retained Andy Spade, and the rest is modern history.  

post #103100 of 109053
I like where my post has taken this.
post #103101 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinnedk View Post

i was 1/2 serios, partially was just messing cuz sf likes jcrew a lot but good answer nonetheless

I personally own no J Crew.  I probably have a 2 decade old tee shirt lying around somewhere, but that's it.  My 15 year old son has a bunch fo stuff that he likes.  My personal tastes run to the more escoteric.  But you gotta give props where it's due.  And right now, J Crew owns the game.

post #103102 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
 

 

c) I can't believe that J.Crew is charging that much for a very average shirt, regardless of cloth. What the heck? Are there people out there who will pay that much for a J.Crew shirt???

 

d) I really dislike this part of the J.Crew sales blurb: "...this shirt is finished with bespoke-inspired details like genuine mother-of-pearl buttons..." Oh, really? How amazing. Perhaps next they'll start mentioning that it has special details like a collar or sleeves because bespoke shirts also have those things.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post
 

c) The answer is very clearly tons of people.  j Crew shows enviable financials, and the merchandising is dialed in, and works in lock step with their product.  Your incredulity reads like a value judgement.  While you are certainly entitled to that, I've founds that your learn a lot more, become much more perceptive, if you are able to suspend value judgements, and to actually empathize with the value systems of others.

 

d) Yeah, it sucks, but we are not the target audience.  Bespoke is synonymous with "quality" for a large segment, and not necessarily unreasonably so, and so the copywriters go from there.  Also, have you ever had to write copy for dozens of similar shirts, day in and day out, all compatible with the "brand story?"  And then it goes through the hands of an editor who is responsible for making the client happy, if you work for an outside firm...  Copy like this is a good way to ensure that you keep your job.

 

I do understand why people buy J.Crew shirts, just as I also understand why people buy, say, hideously overpriced, monogrammed canvas Louis Vuitton bags. LV also shows "enviable financials", but that doesn't mean that people who buy monogrammed canvas LV bags are buying quality goods at decent prices, and the same goes for that J.Crew shirt. I was, quite simply, surprised that the J.Crew shirt was that expensive because I always viewed J.Crew as being fairly inexpensive.

 

I don't know whether J.Crew stock in Japan is different from J.Crew stock in the states, but I've never been particularly impressed by the stuff in J.Crew's Japanese stores/concessions. Beams, Ships and other such places usually have better quality items and I think that the main reason why Japanese people would buy from J.Crew over Beams, Ships, or Uniqlo (of course, Uniqlo is generally much cheaper than the other places) is because of image - which, of course, is precisely why people buy overpriced stuff from LV or other such fashion/name brands.

post #103103 of 109053
Quote:

Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post

 

I do understand why people buy J.Crew shirts, just as I also understand why people buy, say, hideously overpriced, monogrammed canvas Louis Vuitton bags. LV also shows "enviable financials", but that doesn't mean that people who buy monogrammed canvas LV bags are buying quality goods at decent prices, and the same goes for that J.Crew shirt. I was, quite simply, surprised that the J.Crew shirt was that expensive because I always viewed J.Crew as being fairly inexpensive.

 

I don't know whether J.Crew stock in Japan is different from J.Crew stock in the states, but I've never been particularly impressed by the stuff in J.Crew's Japanese stores/concessions. Beams, Ships and other such places usually have better quality items and I think that the main reason why Japanese people would buy from J.Crew over Beams, Ships, or Uniqlo (of course, Uniqlo is generally much cheaper than the other places) is because of image - which, of course, is precisely why people buy overpriced stuff from LV or other such fashion/name brands.

Monogrammed LV bags are apparently remarkably hard to make. I know some top notch leather bag designers who have gone to the Chinese factories specifically to learn the craft.  

 

I am not sure if you are aware of it, but you have made a ton of value judgements in your post, above.  I've bolded the more obvious examples.  "Quality goods at a decent price" is just a marketing slogan that appeals to a value proposition, but with the genius add of "quality" which justifies a higher price.  It's a wildly successful marketing slogan, but it should be recognized as exactly that.  That buying something "because of image" is seems as a negative by you is another value judgement that is completely unfounded, because it sets up the false conflict between "quality" and "image".  The reality is that quality for the vast majority of people is perceived quality, and that the perceived quality is, in fact, largely the result of good branding.  

 

I think that @dieworkwear said it best when he wrote that things should be expected to have "adequate" quality.  If your shoes fall apart in a week, then yes, you have a real problem.  But for the most part, "quality" is not really an issue with any material consequence.  

post #103104 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

I think that @dieworkwear
 said it best when he wrote that things should be expected to have "adequate" quality.

FWIW, I say that as a fairly mediocre quality guy.
post #103105 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post
 

The reality is that quality for the vast majority of people is perceived quality, and that the perceived quality is, in fact, largely the result of good branding. 

 

 

Perhaps I didn't say it particularly well but this is, in fact, the point that I was making when I said that "the main reason why Japanese people would buy from J.Crew over Beams, Ships, or Uniqlo is because of image - which, of course, is precisely why people buy overpriced stuff from LV or other such fashion/name brands."

 

Branding/advertising is, self-evidently, used by most fashion brands to convey a message of quality and, hence, of value. When people spend a large chunk of money, they want to think that they are getting something decent for their money and, whether we like it or not, price is often used as a signifier of quality. Of course, price is largely an absolutely terrible signifier of quality but that doesn't stop it from being used as such.

 

Perhaps we should admire J.Crew for its successful branding and advertising, but I don't see why that means that I should suspend my surprise or my disappointment at the fact that there are, apparently, plenty of people willing to pay US$150 for a mediocre shirt that is, no doubt, made very cheaply in a third-world country. Yes, I understand why they do it - they do it because they have been persuaded by advertising that it is worth that price, either in quality or in terms of peer acceptance and social signalling etc etc. What I don't understand is why that apparently means that I shouldn't have an opinion about their decisions.

post #103106 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post

Perhaps we should admire J.Crew for its successful branding and advertising, but I don't see why that means that I should suspend my surprise or my disappointment at the fact that there are, apparently, plenty of people willing to pay US$150 for a mediocre shirt that is, no doubt, made very cheaply in a third-world country. Yes, I understand why they do it - they do it because they have been persuaded by advertising that it is worth that price, either in quality or in terms of peer acceptance and social signalling etc etc. What I don't understand is why that apparently means that I shouldn't have an opinion about their decisions.

FWIW, I like the Wallace & Barnes line. I feel like when J Crew upgrades their fabrics and materials (which W&B seems to do), a lot of the stuff can compete with "higher end" brands. In this case, W&B compares well to RRL IMO.

A lot of J. Crew stuff is also not really meant to be sold. It's more for public image. Tons of companies do this -- offer some ridiculously extravagant item that they know few people will buy, just so they can up their image. They have a Cowichan sweater from Canadian Sweater Company right now, for example, that costs $1,700. I doubt anyone is going to buy that. And if they do, they're so outside of J. Crew's regular target market that it matters little to the rest of J. Crew's sales.

Anyway, everything at J. Crew goes on sale. At 30% off, a Thomas Mason shirt could be nice.
post #103107 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post

Perhaps I didn't say it particularly well but this is, in fact, the point that I was making when I said that "the main reason why Japanese people would buy from J.Crew over Beams, Ships, or Uniqlo is because of image - which, of course, is precisely why people buy overpriced stuff from LV or other such fashion/name brands."

Branding/advertising is, self-evidently, used by most fashion brands to convey a message of quality and, hence, of value. When people spend a large chunk of money, they want to think that they are getting something decent for their money and, whether we like it or not, price is often used as a signifier of quality. Of course, price is largely an absolutely terrible signifier of quality but that doesn't stop it from being used as such.

Perhaps we should admire J.Crew for its successful branding and advertising, but I don't see why that means that I should suspend my surprise or my disappointment at the fact that there are, apparently, plenty of people willing to pay US$150 for a mediocre shirt that is, no doubt, made very cheaply in a third-world country. Yes, I understand why they do it - they do it because they have been persuaded by advertising that it is worth that price, either in quality or in terms of peer acceptance and social signalling etc etc. What I don't understand is why that apparently means that I shouldn't have an opinion about their decisions.

My point is that differences in quality, above a minimum threshold, are miniscule. The differences in marketing are enormous
post #103108 of 109053
Some patrons would actually prefer that their favorite makers remain under the radar, deliberately not expanding. I think for brands like S.E.H. Kelly, it is actually their preferred niche, no?
post #103109 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

My point is that differences in quality, above a minimum threshold, are miniscule. The differences in marketing are enormous

This + A Million.

Almost no one is ever going to come up against the quality/performance difference between say, Danner/Red Wing and Viberg. Or for that matter Gustin and J.Crew shirts. But the decision making process that goes into which of those you choose to buy and how it correlates to your own self image and the image you choose to cultivate and project is, as LA Guy elaborates on, massive.

It's a fundamental part of why this forum exists at all.
post #103110 of 109053
Quote:
Originally Posted by oboy_oboy View Post

This + A Million.

Almost no one is ever going to come up against the quality/performance difference between say, Danner/Red Wing and Viberg. Or for that matter Gustin and J.Crew shirts. But the decision making process that goes into which of those you choose to buy and how it correlates to your own self image and the image you choose to cultivate and project is, as LA Guy elaborates on, massive.

It's a fundamental part of why this forum exists at all.

I mostly agree but I got some 7-10 yr old shoes and they aren't from low quality makers, some things just age much differently on the mid to long term. For most pieces who cares but shoes are the worst example to pick.
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