First they tried re-labeling J. Crew Factory as “J. Crew Mercantile.” Then they just started mixing a bit of that Mercantile / J. Crew Factory stuff in with the regular line on jcrew.com. Now? It appears that J. Crew has started to ditch the J. Crew Factory / Mercantile branding on their main site, in favor of calling the lower-line product “Essential,” yet still selling it among the regular rank and file stuff on jcrew.com.
And it’s all pretty clear to see that it’s simply renamed and relocated factory/mercantile stuff, thanks to the branding on the items in question (as shown up top).
Even stranger? “Essential” items on the J. Crew site don’t match the prices on the Factory/Mercantile Site. And not always in a way you might expect:
So far, this seems to be limited to just cheap knits like t-shirts. But it appears to be another step down the what-the-hell-trail for J. Crew, and it’s confusing. When tipster Kurtis K. sent in an email about this hubub (thanks Kurtis!) I was confused.
I thought he was referring to the “J. Crew Always” line. Which is another line, but that’s stuff resurrected from their past. It’s not the Essential line. Or label. Or… hell I don’t know.
No word on whether or not that “J. Crew Always” stuff will be sold on the J. Crew Factory/Mercantile site along with the yet to be re-branded J. Crew Essentials stuff. Maybe they could call it J. Crew Always Essentials? Or maybe the company will go super meta, and start selling their flagship, half canvas Ludlow suits on the cheap Factory/Mercantile site and label them “J. Crew Factory Fundamental Splurges which are actually Ludlow suits but please call them Fundamental Splurges m’kay?”