J.Crew has a great track record for listening to its customers. For example, just last year, J.Crew brought back a discontinued scooped-back swimsuit style at the request of a shopper. The recent renaissance of the brand’s Cece flats has faced a speedbump, however, and J.Crew is now in for an earful.
As Racked reports, the retailer pulled the favored flats from its shelves (and site) in early 2014. It was not long before the round-toe commuter shoe's many fans reached out to request a return. Last week, they seem to have gotten the response they wanted when an email from the label proclaimed that it had "decided to bring back your favorite ballet flats." Except, it wasn't exactly the same old slip-ons.
According to J.Crew Aficionada, a blog dedicated to all things to do with the iconic mall brand, the new version of the flats proved to be subpar in comparison to the originals. The product descriptions alone drew suspicion. While the OG Ceces proudly mentioned Italian craftsmanship — three times — the new description instead boasts a "cushioned insole for maximum comfort," "rubber sole for maximum flexibility and an elasticized top line." The new Ceces are also made in Brazil.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with an emphasis on comfort or a Brazilian-made sole — shoe brands Schutz and Melissa both hail from the new South American epicenter of shoe production — Cece fans are also claiming that the quality has suffered. The Daily Mail reports one shopper's feedback that the "quality and fit are poor...excessive width makes them difficult to keep on when walking, the lower-hitting heel results in my heel slipping in and out, the original interior wedge has been replaced with an interior bump at the instep." However, we spoke to a representative at J.Crew who maintained that the changes were grossly overblown. As they described to us, the only adjustment made to the new Cece flats was removal of a seam by the heel that some customers claimed was causing blisters. Furthermore, they stand by the quality of the shoes and say that they are using the same materials and same fit as the original, much-loved pairs.