Will We Lose a Generation of Designers?

“As of spring, we sold to three stores: Net-a-Porter, Forty Five Ten and MacMillan in California. We did a showroom in Paris for fall 2020 and had a lot of great international stores, which we thought could really help move us to the next stage of the business. But with the store closures and people not going to events, that is all on hold. We were planning on adding eight to 10 new stores, but all except one said they could no longer commit to fall orders.

Then Forty Five Ten announced they were closing for the foreseeable future, so their fall order was canceled, too — and they have only paid for half of spring, which has been delivered. We are still trying to get the other half of the payment. Bergdorf Goodman was the new store that didn’t cancel fall, and we have sent an order confirmation to them, but we haven’t heard back.

We don’t have our own direct-to-consumer, so we are really dependent on Net-a-Porter, which has as online exclusive with us. Their buy for fall was smaller than for spring, but it’s enough.

In a way, I think being small has protected us because we have so few employees and no store, and we do only two seasons: fall and spring. Also we ask everyone to give us a deposit so we have some initial budget to work with. My feeling is: If you can’t at least pay for me to make your clothes, we can’t make them. The problem is figuring out the future.

I’m still paying health benefits and salary to my employees, and I would rather invest in that than putting on a show. My studio costs $5,500 a month, and I have asked my landlord if I can pay half that because we can’t be in there. He hasn’t responded yet. We make everything here and fit it on a model, so we know how much fabric to buy, but to do that you need a person, which obviously we don’t have now.

I have asked to push fall deliveries back, initially to August but now September. That would be OK with a shutdown through the end of April, but if it lasts longer than that, I don’t know. We’ve been applying for some small business grants, but because I started taking in money only last year, I don’t qualify for all of them. I might have to break quarantine. We have to do fall orders if we are going to have a business. I can’t afford to miss a season.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/fashion/coronavirus-fashion-bankruptcy.html

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