Jenny Cooper ’89

Jenny Cooper ’89 with sons Miller and Walker
Photo by Holger Thoss

DEGREE: B.A. in studio arts

JOB TITLE: Head of design at Crewcuts, J.Crew’s line for children

FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: I think it would have to be the first day, arriving and meeting my new roommate, who is still my closest friend. It felt like I was starting a new life, and after all these years, I feel like it did happen.


What is J.Crew’s Crewcuts line? An attempt to find and make cool clothes for our kids. Many of us in the office were having a hard time finding a pair of pants that fit and a shirt without strawberries, so we thought maybe we could fill a hole.

What made you want to design children’s clothing? Having children. And the lack of options available. Necessity is the mother of invention, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for, except by traveling to Japan and Europe.

Do your sons influence your thoughts on clothing for children? Absolutely! They have very little patience for clothing, and sometimes I think I’m lucky they wear it at all. So everything we make caters to their mentality. We can’t have any itchy bits, the fabrics have to be soft, and everything has to be durable and easy to wear. But just as important, they have to look cool in it and it has to fit, so we’re trying to marry the two views.

What are some of the differences between designing for children and for adults? Children have a very open and emotional reaction to clothing, and their reasons for liking things are not the same as adults, so that makes it both harder and more fun. They love color, as do I, and they have a sense of “dress up” as not being just for special occasions. They’ll get dressed up to go to school.

How did your time at Trinity affect your work? I think it gave me a grounding in life before I specialized, and I’m able to bring those experiences to bear in both designing and managing a growing team of designers.

Which course at Trinity was particularly influential for you? I don’t know that I could pick out just one. There was Italian, with Professor Del Puppo, which I don’t really use but sticks in my head as being a look at a culture instead of a language. And a sculpture class in sophomore year, I think it was. I can’t remember the teacher’s name! This seems so very long ago!