Why did J. Crew file for bankruptcy? : Planet Money This month, J.Crew went bankrupt. But not before inventing a whole new way of playing hardball with lenders. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

J. Screwed

J. Screwed

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Wang Ying/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images
NEW YORK, May 4, 2020 — A pedestrian walks past a J.Crew store in Manhattan of New York, the United States, May 4, 2020 (Photo by Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images)
Wang Ying/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

J.Crew started as a mail-order catalog selling an imaginary version of New England privilege — think boat shoes, pastel shorts and weathered polo shirts. It grew into a blockbuster fashion house selling outfits to first ladies and fashionistas. And then, last month, after going public and then private again, it went bankrupt.

Today on the show, we tell a story of fashion, private equity, and some very novel ways to think about promises.

Music: "Groovy Rollin'" and "Bourbon Street Blues."

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