J.Crew is hiring a designer who helped turn Supreme into a cult streetwear brand, as the preppy retailer looks to revamp its image

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A longtime Supreme designer is reportedly joining J.Crew as its creative director of menswear.
Brendon Babenzien is considered to be one of the leading people behind Supreme’s explosive success.
According to The Journal’s report, he is being brought on to help boost J.Crew’s relevancy.
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J.Crew is hiring a 14-year veteran of Supreme to lead its menswear design division, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Brendon Babenzien, who joined Supreme in 1996 and is credited as being one of the masterminds behind its transformation into a cult streetwear brand, will join J.Crew’s team imminently, according to The Journal. Babenzien left Supreme in 2015 and has been focusing on his clothing brand, Noah – which he runs with his wife – ever since. He will continue to co-run Noah alongside his new role at J.Crew.
According to the Journal’s report, Babenzien’s new designs will hit J.Crew’s shelves in mid-2022. A J.Crew spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider.
Read more: Branded fire extinguishers, $345 crowbars, and ‘limited-edition’ everything: How Supreme built a $2 billion cult brand using an illusion of scarcity
J.Crew CEO Libby Wadle, who previously led its sister brand Madewell, said Babenzien will have the power to shake things up at J.Crew.
"We need to disrupt the business," she told The Journal. "He’s got a lot of rope and room to push."
J.Crew achieved explosive success in the early 2000s and was known for its signature preppy look masterminded by longtime creative director Jenna Lyons, who was crowned as "the woman who dresses America" by The New York Times. But years later, the company started to face an identity crisis and was accused of being unaffordable and impractical.
Read more: J. Crew has filed for bankruptcy: The rise and fall of America’s iconic preppy clothing brand
In 2017, J.Crew initiated a turnaround effort under new management, but had limited success. In May 2020 at the height of the pandemic, the company filed for bankruptcy. Wadle took over the helm of the company at the end of that year.
According to The Journal’s report, Babenzien plans to hold on to J.Crew’s classic menswear designs but will also push boundaries in his new designs.
"I’m still me. My design sensibility isn’t going to change," he told The Journal. "Can someone walk in [to a store] and take something as simple as chinos and a T-shirt and make it look good? It’ll be my job to show people how to do that," he said.
Read the original article on Business Insider

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/jcrew-hires-supreme-streetwear-designer-for-brand-revamp-2021-5

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