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Fashion Expert Jenna Lyons Talks Digital Age

The American fashion industry was left shaken after Creative Director and President of J.Crew, Jenna Lyons, announced her departure in 2017. With more than 26 years at the retail giant, Lyons found herself starting all over.

“I decided to leave my job, but the industry was shifting, people weren’t hiring creative directors, all my experience didn’t apply. I was terrified.”

It was a moment of time where she had to do things that were out of her comfort zone. And even though she had no idea what she should do, it was a thrilling journery and something completely different from what she was used to.

In a session entitled Creativity at Scale: In Conversation with Style Icon Jenna Lyons at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019, we followed-up on Ms. Lyons’ endeavors, learned more about her new show and on the future of fashion.

What is your take on shopping in the digital age?
In the age of e-commerce many people still have purchasing anxiety. It’s normal because there are so many options out there and sometimes buyers can’t make a move because they are indecisive. We also have less storytelling. What magazines used to do no longer exists because of what’s happening in the publishing industry. And no matter what people desire they still want to connect on an intimate level, so as the world becomes bigger you need to act smaller.

For instance, I am not interested in paid social media posts. It simply doesn’t show the real genuine style of the person. I don’t think there is a real influencer, it is just an overblown concept that lost touch with reality.

What is your new show all about?
I have always given advice to people and businesses on what and where to buy, and it’s quite easy for me and I enjoy it. So why not do it on television?

My company is literally starting from nothing, I rented an apartment nearby and I have one employee so far, and I will get to hire people I like. I really want to bring in individuals who have something to say and give them a bigger platform. I want to show my team the experience of setting up a startup and how to achieve style, and designate missions that falls within their philosophy.

There is nothing I can do on my own so I need a great team. The more diverse the team, the better the results. I’ve worked with a team of like-minded members and the results were average. I can’t stand how closed-minded the fashion industry can be.

Some professional advice you would like to give?
The best advice I would tell myself is that nothing comes quick, don’t be afraid of time because hard work is the key. I feel that younger generations are impatient. If you are doing a job you love you don’t have to look at your watch obsessively and hope you get promoted. However, if you are doing something you dislike you won’t be equally successful. In life, you will spend a lot of your time at work, so make sure to choose a profession that makes you happy.

Also, in every choice you make, you have to be clear and push for it. But most importantly, you have to take care of your team. When you are the boss you won’t be included in team activities and parties, nonetheless, do take care of the people around you and reach out and help. Your internal community will either make you or break you.