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Something Borrowed, Something Blue: How Madewell Bought and Sold My Family’s History

An author discovers that the company his great-grandfather started in 1937, Madewell, has been revived by J. Crew, and sets off to find out what connection, if any, the new iteration has with its 50-year history.

“How many vintage labels out there have similar stories? How many corporations are out there rifling through the defunct brands of America’s past like a bin of used records, looking for something, anything, that will give them that soft Edison-bulb glow of authenticity?”

It’s a wonderful discovery-of-family-history type piece, as well as a meditation on the notion of authenticity in consumer culture. It upended my expectations, read the whole thing, it’s great.

How Madewell Bought And Sold My Family’s History