Babenzien’s hire fills a position that’s been empty since Frank Muytjens left J.Crew in a 2017 shakeup that also saw creative director Jenna Lyons and CEO Mickey Drexler depart. Since, the company has been a revolving door of executives and designers, while the strain of the pandemic finally caused the company to buckle under its debt load and seek bankruptcy protection. It emerged in September, and shortly after Libby Waddle, who previously ran J.Crew’s more successful Madewell denim brand, took over as CEO.

Waddle appears to be looking to rebuild, and Babenzien now has to prove his sensibility can serve the J.Crew menswear customer while attracting new ones.

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