Open letters to brands rarely work, though it might help your odds of success if you happen to be a fashion writer for New York magazine and The Wall Street Journal.
Last August, freelance writer Jenni Avins penned an impassioned plea in New York magazine's The Cut blog, asking J. Crew to bring back its scoop back tank swimsuit.
"What I want is smooth, taut fabric that stretches from my shoulders over my chest and ribcage, with hip-high leg holes and an open back to expose my skin to sand, sunshine, and seawater. I want it available in evocatively named colors like hibiscus, marine, and bottle green (in black, it's simply unstoppable.)"
The letter touched the fashionable heart of J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons, who immediately responded, saying she'd see what she could do. A few months later Lyons announced the swimwear's triumphant return in a two-page New York ad with a sassy, handwritten note that reads, "Dear Ms. Avins, Your wish is my command … within reason. XO Jenna."
It's an excellent example of a brand listening to and responding to the wishes of a loyal customer, buoyed by the PR boost of that customer being a writer for a high-profile publication. The only thing sad about it is that we, even those of us who are writers with decently large audiences, don't expect brands to actually listen.
So congrats, J. Crew, for being decent human beings who just couldn’t let a woman drown in a sea of shitty swimsuits.
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