Madewell’s New CEO Talks Jeans, Healthy Conflicts, & The Privilege Of Failing

The idea that there’s one pair of jeans that will magically fit America Ferrera, Blake Lively, you, and me is ludicrous to Wadle, as it is to any grown woman who’s ever tried on a pair of jeans. This one-size-fits-all scam also, appropriately, applies to retail where the idea that one cookie-cutter approach could save any brand is pure fantasy. The fact that Wadle is allergic to that mindset is a good thing. After all, Madewell — the J.Crew Group-owned company of which Wadle was recently named CEO — needs a fresh approach to succeed. The two brands that Wadle previously held positions at, J.Crew and Gap, both experienced stunning rises followed by crushing implosion. In fact, it’s been rumored that one of the reasons that Wadle was promoted from brand president to CEO was to prime Madewell for an imminent IPO in order to pay down part of J.Crew’s $1.7 billion debt.