Jenna Lyons Departs J.Crew as President
BY KENNETH RICHARD
After 26 years at the firm, rising to the role of President, Jenna Lyons is parting ways with J. Crew. Lyons was widely credited with creating one of the most dynamic American brands and shopping experiences putting the ‘life’ in ‘style’ at J.Crew along with Chief Executive Mickey S. Drexler.
“She’s one of the most talented, intuitive, dynamic and commercial designers I have ever met,” said Drexler last year when The Impression asked about her. In a statement, Drexler added, “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Jenna as my trusted partner for the past 14 years. She has made many significant contributions to J.Crew and has built an incredibly talented team.”
Lyons began her career upon graduating from Parsons School of Design and obtaining an internship at Donna Karan. She was one of the first members of the design team under founder Emily Woods at J.Crew, working first in menswear. Over the next two decades she worked her way to the role of President, along the way becoming a member of the CFDA and serving on its Board of Directors. Her influence won over consumers and trade alike and she has helped to mentor the next generation of designers as a judge voting on the winners of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
The retailer has been under pressure of late regarding its lack of growth performance with J.Crew sales decreasing by 5% in the fourth quarter last year. But as The Impression knows, the ebb and flow of a quarterly and even yearly performance figures does not a career make as Lyons’ influence on American fashion can’t be measured by seasonal Wall Street indicators. And even if it was, the year over year growth from the time she took on a leadership role at the firm, would be a solid return for any investor.
Somsack Sikhounmuong, J.Crew’s Chief Design Officer, who previously headed up design at Madewell, will be taking over Lyons duties. She has yet to announce her next steps.