How A J. Crew Executive Overcame A Rare Genetic Disorder To Rule Fashion

jenna lyons

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As creative director of J. Crew, Jenna Lyons is considered one of the most influential people in fashion. But Lyons, 44, recently revealed that she had to overcome a rare genetic disorder that caused her hair to fall out and scarred her skin. 

The experience helps Lyons relate to her self-conscious teen customers, reported the New York Times’ David Colman

“Ms. Lyons grew up in Palos Verdes, Calif., on the coast south of Los Angeles. She was not Malibu Barbie. Her awkward height was compounded by a genetic disorder, incontinentia pigmenti, that scarred her skin and caused her hair to fall out in patches and her teeth to be malformed. (She has worn dentures ever since, she freely pointed out.)”

But a sewing machine changed her confidence, Colman reported. 

“Then, in her seventh grade home economics class, she learned how to sew, and sew she did. It worked better than she could have hoped. The popular girls liked what she made. Style gave her not only armour; it gave her cachet.”

Lyons started working at J. Crew 22 years ago and now influences what countless Americans wear. 

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