J.Crew Is Losing Jenna Lyons

Jenna Lyons is leaving J.Crew after 26 years. Business of Fashion reports that the creative director-turned-president of the retailer has stepped away from the brand after agreeing “it was time for a change,” according to CEO Mickey Drexler. Lyons joined the brand in 1990, where she quickly reinvigorated designs and elevated the brand with her takes on classically American prep staples. From 2010 onward, Lyons served as president and de facto face of the company. Her departure creates a significant power vacuum within the struggling retailer.

J.Crew has notably struggled in the era of fast fashion: sales last year plunged 6%; a $1.5 billion USD debt and $350 million USD revolving loan haven’t helped its cause any, according to BoF. A Business Insider report from late last year showed a brand grasping for relevance with novelty athleisure lines and heavily-discounted basics. Ongoing footwear collaborations with New Balance doesn’t look to have helped things much.

The company’s head of women’s design, Somsack Sikhounmuong, has been promoted to chief design office in the meantime, effective immediately.