Model in madewell clothes
In conversation with Joceylne Beaudoin


Great denim is at the heart of every Madewell collection – a philosophy that has ensured its loyal US fanbase flocks to its stores for perfect-fit jeans and the timeless pieces to wear with them. Founded in 1937 as a workwear label, Madewell was launched in its modern incarnation in 2006 as a sister brand to J.Crew. While initially considered to be the younger sibling label to the US retail stalwart, Madewell has well and truly established itself as a one-stop shop for an effortless wardrobe – think classic tees, great everyday bags in butter-soft leather, breezy, easy-to-wear dresses and leather jackets you’ll own forever.

Model in Madewell top and jeans

Finding the right pair of jeans is a personal experience

Joyce Lee

For UK customers, Madewell has long been a destination to seek out when visiting US shores – it was available online, but without the opportunity to see and try on products first. Twelve years since its inception, it has finally arrived on the UK high street this autumn at John Lewis & Partners shops (having made its bricks-and-mortar debut in the new White City Westfield store in March) and on

‘I’m excited that our denim is now available for people to try on in the UK,’ says Joyce Lee, Madewell’s head designer. ‘Finding the right pair of jeans is a personal experience – you have to try on a few styles and sizes to find that perfect one.’ Joyce, who previously worked on the accessories design teams at Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors, joined Madewell as design director of accessories in 2008. She moved into the head designer role in 2015 and, under her watch, the brand has continued its impressive growth.

Model in Madewell jumper and jeans
Model in Madewell jumper

For Joyce, the Madewell woman is looking for pieces that are ‘effortless, unexpected and artful’ – the building blocks of an easy-to-wear wardrobe, featuring small details and personal touches that elevate them beyond classic basics. Of course, the starting point is those famed jeans: Madewell prides itself on developing the most flattering fits in premium, innovative denim. While many people approach shopping for jeans with trepidation, thanks to the endless choice and often confusing cuts, Madewell aims to simplify the process with its succinct descriptions that outline the fit and the look. Product summaries contain such wisdom as ‘comfy enough for a long flight’ – the type of practical information that communicates the design’s key selling points in an instantly relatable way.


I love playing with different shades and adding texture

Joyce Lee
Model in Madewell denim jacket and jeans

New for autumn is the Curvy Jean, designed specifically for an hourglass shape, which Joyce says, ‘hugs in the right places for a flattering look and has stretch so is unbelievably comfortable’. As for how to style those jeans, Joyce has a more-is-more philosophy: ‘Denim on denim on denim! I love playing with different shades and adding texture such as sherpa, depending on the season.’

Model in Madewell tie-waist T-shirt and jeans
Model in Madewell tie-waist T-shirt and high-waisted jeans


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