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J.Crew is axing its bridal collection, Racked has learned. In its place, it will offer an expanded line of party and special occasion dresses starting this spring.
When reached for comment, J.Crew confirmed the shift in strategy after more than a decade in the bridal business. It jumped into the category in 2004; CEO Mickey Drexler told the New Yorker in 2012 that the idea came to him when he discovered that brides bought multiples of the same dress for their friends as bridesmaid dresses.
J.Crew is largely credited with being the first non-bridal retailer to dabble in the space. It paved the way for brands like Ann Taylor, H&M, Asos, and Modcloth to also make affordable bridal dresses, disrupting the bridal store sector that IBISWorld counts as a $3 billion space.
The brand's collection of bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses, and even jumpsuits and crop tops were always front and center in its catalogues, and even anchored an Upper East Side store. But over time, J.Crew's bridal business became more of a burden than a boon, according to a source close to the brand. The category proved to be inefficient, financially speaking.
Materials like tulle, sequins, and lace are costly, and, when you think about it, the bridal sector is prone to bleeding money: The amount of women shopping for wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses is a fraction of those looking for special occasion attire. Ultimately, said the source, the company was unhappy with how the category was operating. Certainly, there was the option to create cheaper versions of J.Crew's bridal division, but the brand holds itself to a certain standard, the source says, and prides itself on its quality, which helps explain why they chose to just cut the line entirely.
The price of both wedding and bridesmaid dresses have been slashed by 30 percent on J.Crew's website, and the brand confirmed that once its bridal inventory sells out, it's done. So if you're in the market for a wedding dress — or if you just want to own a white tulle gown from the same brand Jennifer Aniston wore to her wedding — now's your chance.
When asked what to expect come spring, J.Crew said it couldn't share many details but did say to expect the classic J.Crew aesthetic: Feminine prints, bold colors, and fun florals.