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Anatomy of a Buy: How Madewell at Nordstrom Came to Be

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Led by relentless retail guru Mickey Drexler, Madewell is in expansion mode. It will ramp its store count up to 100 this year and is growing its availability at outside retailers to include Net-a-Porter and, beginning today, Nordstrom. The department store landed 70 styles for its first delivery, which includes outerwear, easy dresses, and denim from shirts to shorts to flares.

Tricia Smith, Nordstrom's executive vice president and general merchandise manager of women's apparel, told us the partnership was Madewell's idea.

"Jenna Lyons and Jeffrey Kalinsky (Nordstrom Designer Fashion Director) know each other from being on the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Selection Committee together, so they connected the people at Madewell with the right people at Nordstrom," Smith explained to Racked. "When the Madewell team approached us to start a dialogue about carrying Madewell denim, we said, 'we’d love to carry your denim, but we’re interested in the whole collection!'" The brand was an easy fit for Nordstrom because their shopper is already familiar with Madewell ("Our customers have been telling us that they love Madewell, so it was a no-brainer"), and the denim price point is "approachable," Smith says. At $128, a pair of 'slim boyfriend' jeans is priced $30 higher than a similar pair by in-house brand Treasure&Bond, but still $80 under a comparable style by Paige.

Outside of jeans, Smith tells us that Nordstrom's buy includes the "best of" Madewell (including That Leather Tote), a selection that was decided in collaborative effort between both parties. See the fruits of their labor in the lookbook above, and shop everything right here.