Notable Interview: Tom Mora of J.Crew Calgary

J.Crew’s first Calgary shop opened in June 2012 – a notable addition to the city’s retail landscape, for sure. With 5,308 square feet of preppy chic at our fingertips, we sat down with Tom Mora, Head of Women’s Design at J.Crew, to get the what’s what on the classic label. 

Bill Cunningham, the street style photographer from the New York Times, says he’s more interested in how women on the street wear fashion than how designers put together their looks. How does street style inspire you? Have you ever been surprised by how someone wears your designs?
I people watch, it can be subtle; how someone wears a hat or cuffs a jean, that’s what I’ll remember. J.Crew has a unique style, there is a DNA to our combos that has also influenced street style. And NYC is very unique; there can be cute ways women on the street wear their pieces. 

What’s the J.Crew look in a nutshell?
It’s casual yet dressy, high-end and low-end, masculine and feminine. It’s head to toe denim with a blazer, and a necklace or coloured pump. 

Calgarians seem to wear denim shorts on a higher per capita rate than other cities. Any tips to pulling them off in a chic way? 
Pair the shorts with a chambray shirt buttoned up to the collar and a statement necklace or a patterned shirt. Just please don’t wear them with a rubber flip-flop.

While we aren’t looking forward to the end of summer, is there anything we can get excited about for fall?
We have great coats and transitional outerwear that will be great for your climate. There are gorgeous sweaters, both cashmere and non-cashmere. The fall collection was inspired by a trip I took to Marrakech. There are looks inspired by the contrast between sweatshirt-inspired pieces mixed with traditional and cultural pieces. Silk tie patterns, tunic tops; it’s all about mixing cultures.

We think of J.Crew as quality, classic pieces; how do trends come into play?
We try not to jump on trends. We just think, “What will I do next season?” We have a great team; very stylish, trends are spoken about quietly. We think of how the J. Crew woman can have these pieces season after season and they won’t fall apart.

What’s notable to you?   
The students at ACAD designed the window display. They worked with our visual design team and designed this window called “Now Arriving,” which can be viewed as both the store’s arrival and summer vacation. The design features hundreds of paper airplanes with a jet stream. It’s important to us to support students and the arts/creative scene in the communities our stores are in. J.Crew also made a donation to the college.