Mickey Drexler, former Gap and J.Crew boss, heads fashion brand again

At an age when most people retire, Mickey Drexler is starting a new job. The former boss of Gap Inc. and J.Crew Group takes over the management of Alex Mill, a clothing brand created by his son.

Mr. Drexler made Gap t-shirts and khakis cool in the 1990s and spearheaded a turnaround at J.Crew. But he left both companies amid a prolonged decline in sales. Today, at 76, he is back in business at a time of upheaval, as brands emerge from the Covid-19 crisis and continue to fight against the switch to e-commerce.

“I’ve been through a lot of non-fun times in my career,” Mr. Drexler said in a recent interview. But he said he’s having more fun than ever because the business is small enough that he can focus on the details, right down to the color, style and buttons of each garment. “I never want to retire,” he said.

His son Alex Drexler founded Alex Mill in 2012 as a manufacturer of men’s shirts sold in luxury stores such as Barneys New York. After Mickey Drexler stepped down as CEO of J.Crew in 2017, he invested in the company, became an advisor, and introduced his son to Somsack Sikhounmuong, who had been J.Crew’s chief design officer.

In 2018, Alex Drexler and Mr. Sikhounmuong relaunched Alex Mill with broader collections for women and men and focused on selling direct to consumers through its website and a physical store, although the brand is also sold by d ‘other retailers, including Nordstrom. Inc. and Net-a-Porter.

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