The Noah co-founder and former Supreme design director is set to become the retailer’s chief designer for men. The news was first reported in The Wall Street Journal.
The American retailer, which underwent a bankruptcy restructuring last year, is betting on Babenzien to help “disrupt the business,” starting with his first collection to be released in the second half of 2022, WSJ reported.
In recent years, J.Crew has struggled to keep up with an increasingly digital market and streetwear-influenced consumer tastes. The pandemic was the last straw: the company became the first US retailer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last May. It emerged from the process in September with new owners and a new strategy. Womenswear designer Chris Benz exited in September; In November, former chief executive Jan Singer was replaced by Madewell CEO Libby Wadle.
Babenzien told WSJ he wants to take J. Crew mens back to basics, with a focus on quality. Though favourites like the Ludlow suit will stay, he plans on updating the brand’s offering with relaxed tailoring and his own streetwear sensibility, he said. Babenzien will also continue to head Noah with his wife Estelle Bailey-Babenzien, WSJ reported.