Can a streetwear designer save J.Crew?

Brendon Babenzien may not be a household name, but he’s well-known within men’s fashion. After a 14-year career as design director of Supreme, during which he helped make the streetwear company one of fashion’s most influential names, he left in 2015 to relaunch his own clothing line, Noah, with his wife, Estelle Bailey-Babenzien. The line has developed its own loyal customer base, and today sells at retailers such as Ssense and Dover Street Market.

Now he’s got a new job. J.Crew has announced Babenzien as its men’s creative director.

It marks J.Crew’s latest move to update and revive its business, which has never quite recaptured the success of its mid-2000s heyday and underwent restructuring last year as part of a bankruptcy filing. Menswear is just a fraction of its sales—21% in 2018, according to the company’s last full-year filing. But any traction it can gain turning around its business and brand image would help, and the appeal of a designer associated with streetwear is clear.

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