Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew/Shawn Brackbill.
Williamsburg is the butt of many jokes about the hipsterization of Brooklyn. But, come September, the neighborhood's reputation might be challenged by the new brand on the block: J.Crew's Wythe Avenue location will open its doors at the end of the summer, ushering in a preppy new era for the neighborhood. For J.Crew, this expansion signifies brand-new territory. For Williamsburg, it means a lot more crew-neck sweaters.
Apparently, the Wythe Avenue outpost will not be your typical J.Crew. Nay, it will be a very Brooklyn J.Crew — or, a very J.Crew interpretation of what it means to "be" Brooklyn. Creative director Jenna Lyons was involved in designing the store and originally intended to keep the building's original facade, which was "covered in posters and spray-painted tags," she told T Magazine. Ultimately, though, Lyons had to replace much of the dilapidated exterior due to its poor condition. So, J.Crew commissioned graffiti artist Greg Lamarche (who was working in Williamsburg long before Lyons found him) to design a mural that runs along the outside of the store. The inside will house several other commissioned pieces from Brooklyn-based artists, such as dressing-room stools from Amma Studios and a Naomi Reis mural. You know, because Brooklyn is artsy.
Lyons assures us that J.Crew's venture into the outer borough has been a long time coming. And, while she was once a Brooklyn resident herself, Lyons still talks about Williamsburg with a removed sense of wonder: “There’s a lot going on in terms of specialty. The food industry is actually incredibly rich over there. There’s a lot of people making beautiful pottery.” You don't say!
But, lets not forget that Lyons has had a close encounter of the hipster kind: She played Hannah Horvath's boss on the last season of Girls. From this experience, Lyons has concluded that hipsterdom and J.Crew aren't mutually exclusive. “I see [Hannah Horvath] wear a lot of J.Crew,” she told T Magazine. “I hope she would be thrilled. I would never postulate what she would possibly say, but she seems to be a J.Crew devotee. Whether she wears the right size or not on the show, that’s a whole other thing.” Oh, burn. Luckily, Hannah will soon be able to find better-fitting trousers right off the G train.