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This week, Alexandra Jacobs takes on Madewell, which she describes as "Skipper to J. Crew’s Barbie. Fewer sequins, more lanyards." As the newest Critical Shopper, Jacobs seems eager to prove that she's no fashionista lightweight. She's suspicious of everything in the store, up to and including the denim bar ("as if it were serving cocktails instead of flares and skinnies"), but she reserves her real skepticism for Madewell's origin story—something vague about 1937 and heritage that falls to pieces under her scrutiny. Turns out that while J.Crew did indeed buy the rights to a defunct New England workwear factory called Madewell, the clothing is mostly produced in China, which is a bit of a hike from Massachusetts. [NYT]