In an all-too-literal take on the aphorism “dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” preppy clothes-maker J.Crew has struck up a partnership with aspirational career companies WeWork and LinkedIn.
No, the three companies haven’t made any clothes together—rather, they’re teaming up for an ad campaign and a series of talks with entrepreneurs in cities like Atlanta and New York. J.Crew is inviting speakers, sponsored by LinkedIn and WeWork, to events hosted in its stores. The three-way collaboration is a natural, almost obvious, fit. GQ writer Cam Wolf explains it this way: “As modern-day workers change from office-dwelling and desk-strapped to always-on-the-job and always-on-the-go, J.Crew is betting that their wardrobes will need a refresh as well.”
The synergy amongst the trio, in addition to tapping into a new paradigm for work, also speaks to WeWork’s steady and surprising climb into the mainstream, which was built on that paradigm. Once a tiny, easily-dismissed startup that just leased office spaces for independent workers seeking desks and meeting rooms, WeWork has since built itself into a sprawling empire. It aims to dominate the intersection of work and play and life at large. It is able to stand beside companies like J.Crew, a retail behemoth whose signature catalog of speckled button-downs specifically targets the 9-to-5 crowd, and LinkedIn, the go-to place for professional networking and development for 500 million people.
Ultimately the image that J.Crew, WeWork, and LinkedIn want to sell together is a utopian one of the eager modern worker—someone who dashes from place to place, perhaps even job to job, with pep and confidence and well-dressed poise. It’s a nice idea, even if it doesn’t yet exist.