If you found yourself flipping through the September J. Crew catalog only to stop at page 11 and gawk at the shaggy-haired model who looks a bit like Iron & Wine frontman Sam Beam, rest easy, you aren't alone. Slate's Brow Beat writer Julia Felsenthal was just as taken aback: "who is the bearded hippie"? she asked, and what is he doing in a J. Crew catalog?
The moderately upscale brand, known as a purveyor of items fit for a Cape Cod boating excursion, appears to be repositioning itself toward a more urban (perhaps fauxhemian) audience. Which explains why the greasy haired "hirsute fellow" is found gracing the pages of a September catalogue. Felsenthal explains how the brand aims to compete:
It's no secret that J.Crew has been working to change its image. J.Crew President and Creative Director Jenna Lyons has breathed new life and daring into a company that made its name marketing boring basics as preppy classics. That marketing was largely done through the J.Crew catalog, which, season after season, created a sunny and comforting world of fresh-faced American beauties frolicking in iconic New England settings, often aboard boats.
And muses about the "long-bearded, sallow-skinned" symbol of the transition:
There he is on Page 11, discordant in a slim cut gray Italian wool suit and skinny gray tie, staring longingly out the window at the non-J.Crew world where he belongs. There he is again on Page 20, wearing the same bored expression and limp posture but slightly more at home in a fisherman-style toggle cardigan, chambray shirt, and a pair of rolled gray chinos. Is his hair thinning, or is that just the lank way it falls against his scalp?
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