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Fire Island Lighthouse, NY
To coincide with Brendon’s debut collection as men’s creative director, we spent a weekend in his Long Island hometown and Brooklyn neighborhood, talking eclectic influences, cultural inspirations and his own personal history with J.Crew.

J.Crew and I have always
shared the desire for simple
pleasures: freedom,
friendship and fun. We
aspire to create happiness in
our everyday lives, find
balance and respect each
other and the outdoors.
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White Cap Fish Market & Seafood Restaurant, Islip, NY
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“American style at its best is casual and individual at the same time. I appreciate that unfussy approach—making classic clothes designed to wear in that still retain a subtle sophistication.

More important than the clothes themselves is how you spend your time while wearing them. The passions you have, the places you go, the people you care about—that’s where personal style comes from.”

Multipurpose is really important to me—being able to take
one thing and have it work in a lot of different ways, and
over a long period of time. I like the classics and altering
them or thinking about them in a way that they weren’t
thought of before, rather than something being only good
for a season or two.
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“I’ve always surfed, snowboarded and skateboarded. Just being outside generally is something that I think human beings at their core need. We’re a part of the natural world. A big thing we talk about in design here is that there’s always been this ‘getting out’ element to the brand, whether that’s walking the dog or going for a hike, which we’re trying to recapture.”
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Golconda Skate Park, Brooklyn, NY
Clothes are the subplot“Clothes by themselves don’t have a life, right? Clothes need you to be living in them. The places you’ve been, the things you remember, moments you’ve had with your friends…that’s what brings clothes to life. It’s what you do that creates memories, and those memories include what you’re wearing.
Self-expression comes first“One of the things I’d like to accomplish is giving people permission to be more themselves, and understanding that whatever you’re comfortable in, that’s the thing. Go with it. If you’re a writer, an athlete or a painter, your style should come out of that. It’s all an expression of who you are, and who you are is a result of what you’re interested in and the things you do.”
Look back and move forward“In the small community where I grew up, some of us couldn’t wait to leave. We were like, ‘It’s too small, there’s not enough here for us, we don’t experience enough!’ But then I go back, and I kind of understand just how good we really had it. Hearing a certain song or smelling salt air—those experiences can transport you right back to a moment. And for me personally, J.Crew was always there as a base of my wardrobe in everything I did, whether it was seeing The Cure play or going to a show at Arlene’s Grocery. When I look at old photos, it’s right there.”
BRENDON’S STYLE EDITThe Giant-fit chino“I had been looking for a classic oversized chino to wear with more traditional Northeast looks and as a loose-fitting pant to skate in. We pulled the Giant-fit chino from the ’90s archives and reworked it a little for right now.”
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Noah, Nolita, NYC
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Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY
The Fair Isle sweater“I’m a big fan of Fair Isle. It’s typically seen as traditional because of its history and connection to preppy culture, but to me it feels quite in your face due to the busy pattern. I’ve also always enjoyed wearing colors stereotypically associated with women’s clothing—thankfully, those boundaries are pretty much broken down at this point. Color is just color.”
The Italian suede argyle vest“This is based on a vintage piece that I found to be interesting—it felt very ’70s, and the addition of argyle changed it slightly. It’s one of those pieces that will feel different based on who’s wearing it.”
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Brightwaters, NY

One of the things I appreciate about J.Crew is that we don’t
chase trends. We are what we are, always have been and
always will be. It’s up to the individual to make it something
else. People will wear the same thing many different ways,
and that’s when things get really interesting for me—that’s
what’s really creative.
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Fall 2022LookbookThe debut collection from new
men’s creative director Brendon Babenzien.
See this season’s looks
More stories to explore…
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