J. Crew is expecting.
The brand today is delivering a 35-piece maternity collection, representing the retailer’s first foray into pregnancy apparel. New York City-based Hatch, a label for mamas-to-be, is J. Crew’s proud significant other. The two companies teamed up, with Hatch providing design expertise for silhouettes for bulging bellies in sizes 0 to 12.
Maternity was one of the top word searches on jcrew.com, the company said.
This collection took both brands into new territories, allowing J. Crew to expand its women’s offerings, while providing Hatch with its first workwear-specific collection. Hatch, which specializes in apparel that can be worn during all stages of pregnancy and beyond, and helps new mothers tackle the transition from maternity leave to returning to work, doesn’t sell careerwear as such.
One of the most challenging aspects of pregnancy is finding a wardrobe that’s appropriate for the workplace — it’s the universal struggle of all working women-with-child. J. Crew and Hatch responded to the outcry, with the Hatch x J. Crew collection, designed by a team of working mothers.
Hatch, which operates stores in Manhattan and Los Angeles, where it offers services such as one-to-one styling and a cravings bar, launches pop-up shops with events in cities across the country “for mamas to meet and connect,” the company said. On Sept. 5, for example, Adda Birnir, chief executive officer and founder of Skillcrush, will teach customers how to build a flexible career around their needs and life.
“From New York to L.A. to wherever we’re popping up, we are creating space for mamas to meet and connect. Get pampered, catch an inspiring talk and shop our new collections. Discover the world of HATCH. Come play!” promotional materials read.
“J. Crew is a style destination for women in all aspects of their lives — work, weekends, wherever,” said Lisa Greenwald, the brand’s chief merchandising officer. “Our customers have been asking for maternity for quite some time, so we decided to partner with Hatch as a leader in the maternity space. Their silhouettes are effortless and theirs is an aesthetic that you actually want to wear during pregnancy, and long after.”
The J. Crew brand has been struggling. In the recent first quarter ended May 4, total sales fell 4 percent to $376.1 million, and same-store sales declined 1 percent, following a 6 percent decline in the year-ago quarter.
The collection includes redesigned, best-selling J. Crew @work pieces, including classics such as the Regent blazer, $248, and Resume dress, $228. The former, made from a four-season stretch fabric, has an elongated silhouette with a collar that can be popped up or down. The latter, in four-season stretch, comes in solid black, vintage burgundy, ivory and glen plaid, has ingenious inserts on each side of the hips that fold in on themselves until extra space is needed.
Pants, such as the J. Crew Cameron pant, are made for all three trimesters and beyond. The Cameron in four-season stretch retains its slim style and flattering back seam, with a belt-like elastic waistband added at the back. Hatch x J. Crew doesn’t shy away from slender silhouettes. Case in point: the No. 2 pencil skirt, redesigned with a lower rise in the front to sit just under a woman’s belly. Pants and a skirt pair with 100 percent silk button-down blouses — for easy nursing — with a ruffle collars, selling for $178.
A 100 percent cashmere sweater, selling for $198, with the word “Mama” on the front, has dropped sleeves and a swingy shape to fit a mother-to-be’s baby bump, and can be worn past her due date. A lightweight polyester caftan dress, $168, is maxi-length with covered buttons, and is available in Hatch’s signature shade of pink, dusty peony and a tiny floral print.
The collection aims to empower mothers-to-be by helping them feel confident as their bodies change and their roles at work continue, with prices for collection pieces ranging from $59.50 to $298.