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J.Crew Claims To Be Calling the Birkenstock Revival First

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Original photo of the J.Crew catalog. Birkenstocks, $130.
Original photo of the J.Crew catalog. Birkenstocks, $130.

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Thumbing through the J.Crew spring "Style Guide" today, one thing was hard to miss, but not entirely surprising: Many of the models were styled in white Birkenstocks. The footwear fits the brands' typical Jenna Lyons-inspired aesthetic. They're a little bit sporty, a little bit crunchy and take an otherwise fancy outfit down a couple notches—plus, J.Crew is offering exclusive colors this season. But the copy on one Birk feature is a little suspect. "You heard it here first," the white writing reads in all caps. "Birkenstocks will be everywhere this summer."

Some would argue that the Birkenstock revival already happened and has since fell to even more minimalist footwear. Our own market editor—who, granted, is usually two steps ahead of everyone on team Racked—recently wrote, "The Birkenstocks ship has sailed: If you didn't pony up on last summer's runaway anti-fashion fashion shoe, it's too late now." Indeed Vogue was singing the shoe's praises last July, citing Phoebe Philo's spring 2013 Céline show in which she sent her own interpretation of the silhouette down the runway. We would add Prada, Isabel Marant, Marc Jacobs, et cetera, ad infinitum to the list of Birk-based, uggo footwear converts in the design world.

The point here is less that J.Crew claims to have called the Birkenstock revival when they didn't. Nor is it that Birkenstocks are or are not "cool" right now. It's more so that in this instance, the "Style Guide" assumes its core customer isn't up-to-date on fashion media. A shopper would have had to miss the Birkenstock revival on blogs like Fashionista, Refinery29, and this site as well as in Vogue, Lucky and more to be sold on that statement. It might finally be safe to say that instead of a flash-in-the-pan normcore trend, comfy and ugly footwear truly just breached the mainstream.
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