For the first time since 2007, Gap will have little to do with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
J.Crew is sponsoring this year's scholarship, which surely means that by next summer, J.Crew stores will be stocked with special items designed by the winners.
Ann Taylor, a brand that's tried to mimic J.Crew in its styling, will fund an October fashion show in Los Angeles, where models will show off designs created for the retailer. (Remember, nominees this year include Prabal Gurung and Christian Cota, so expect to see some fabulous holiday party dresses on the runway.)
It's clear that J.Crew has forked over plenty of cash to be this year's marquee sponsor. (We're talking on top of the scholarship fund.) But is it worth it? Despite the great press and great clothes that came out of the Gap/CFDA collaborations, the world's biggest retailer is struggling more than ever with its branding. (Patrick Robinson is trying to change that, and we hope that he succeeds.)
However, for J.Crew, it's less about building momentum and more about sustaining it. This will only strengthen the prestigious reputation it already enjoys among fashion-savvy consumers.