Q&A :: Frank Muytjens, Head of Men’s Design at J.Crew

When J.Crew opened its first Alberta store at West Edmonton Mall, the store sold only clothes and accessories for women. Starting August 28, that’s all changing with the debut of J.Crew men’s collection. The menswear offering will include suiting, outerwear, shoes and accessories.

J.Crew is a one-stop shop for men’s-wear design selling the kind of clothes a man can build his wardrobe on. As Head of Men’s Design at J.Crew, Frank Muytjens, has sharpened the fits and finishes of J.Crew basics and launched an impressive line-up of suiting. Originally from Holland, Muytjens spent eight years designing for Polo Ralph Lauren prior to bringing an elevated approach to American design to J.Crew.

In advance of the launch of the men’s collection in Edmonton, we interviewed Muytjens – one of the most influential American men’s-wear designers.

How do your Dutch-roots influence an iconic American-brand?
I have always been a fan of American films and culture. I think growing up outside of America has enabled me to look at the culture in a different way with a unique interpretation.  

Tell us about the lifestyle of a man who wears J.Crew.
He’s a guy who knows quality and style, but in an understated way. He’s comfortable with himself and his fashion choices are subtle. He likes classics clothes in a modern way and is interested in the details.

What pieces within the current J.Crew collection fit your belief that guys need ‘garments that will get better with age”?
There’s this great tweed topcoat which is a perfect blend of traditional elements and a modern fit. Our slim 484 jeans are made of Japanese denim which fade beautifully over time. And our garment dyed Stanton shorts have a great rumpled, lived-in feel.

On the J.Crew website, you have a great featured called ‘Jack Knows Best’ where Jack acts as a style wingman to confused men. What is the most frequently asked style question by men?
Guys are always asking for help with what to wear for a special occasion & job interviews.

What are you into right now? What inspired your latest J.Crew collection?
I’m really into pops of colour. Bright pops in chino pants, cashmere, Shetland sweaters, but the colours are ‘in between colours’. You can’t tell if it is an orange or a yellow, a brown or a red.  

For fall 2012, we drew inspiration from the photographs of August Sander, and cityscapes of a gloomy, moody New York in the rain. Lots of blues and indigos.

Men’s fashion seems to be moving faster than ever. How should men stay up to date?
It’s a very exciting time in menswear right now because guys are definitely looking for quality and authenticity. I think it’s important to invest in classic, well-made pieces that will stand the test of time.

What key items should men incorporate into their fall wardrobe?
Every guy needs a well-fitted suit, a pair of classic wingtips and great dress shirt – all my dress shirts at the moment are spread collar shirts.

What are your hopes for the men’s collection in Edmonton?
We are excited to bring our men’s collection to Edmonton.  I had the pleasure of touring Edmonton a few months ago with the team. I think guys in Edmonton will really appreciate the passion and detail that we put into our garments!