For the apparel retailer, there was the way that retail always worked, where stores and designers dictated what consumers wanted. Then, everything changed.
With hindsight, it’s not hard to see that a new age of retail started when J. Crew hired Jenna Lyons. In 1990, the company, which started in 1983, hired a new assistant designer straight out of Parsons and thereby put into motion a series of events that would bring about the pinnacle of mall specialty retail, followed swiftly by its near crash-and-burn.
Yet, pinning the rise and fall of a retailer on one person is neither accurate nor fair. Lyons was given room to grow and flourish once she was under the direction of Millard “Mickey” Drexler. Drexler had previously been a director at Apple, and then the CEO of Gap Inc. before he landed at J. Crew. The two made an unlikely pair, but together they designed and executed a vision to build a brand that was synonymous with style and luxury.
It almost worked.
Read more at Retail Dive