- Kristopher Fraser
After 12 years, Carly Cushnie has closed the doors on her eponymous label. The CEO and creative director of women’s ready-to-wear and bridal line Cushnie has shutdown her business citing the coronavirus pandemic as the primary reason for this.
Cushnie sent out a letter to the media where she discussed how increasingly difficult the retail landscape has become over the years. “While my brand has persevered through unending headwinds, the effects of COVID-19 have hurt my business beyond repair, and it is with great sadness that I share Cushnie will be closing its doors,” the letter read. The last collection shipped will be pre-fall.
Cushnie was originally Cushnie et Ochs, as Carly Cushnie launched the brand with co-founder Michelle Ochs. In 2018, Ochs chase to leave the business leaving Cushnie on her own for the past two years. Cushnie would rebrand the business under her own name and would debut her first collection on her own for spring 2019 to rave reviews from critics.
Cushnie became the majority owner of the 10 million dollar company and would continue being a major figure in New York’s fashion scene. She was a board member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and was also one of the first Black designers to be part of Target’s design collaboration series. The Target collection sold out at record speed.
Like most fashion brands, Cushnie had a tough 2020. In May, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the company furloughed 30 percent of its staff. The remaining staff saw the brand through its recent closure.
With cancelled orders and production being stalled, Cushnie was put in a tough place. Now, America says goodbye to one of its most successful Black female designers. There is premature talk of companies coming and trying to find a way to keep the brand alive, but nothing is anywhere near set in stone.
As a brand, Cushnie was known for its sleek, modern, feminine designs that earned it top retail partners including Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-Porter, and Neiman Marcus. Cushnie was one of the many retail casualties this year, as many retailers filed for bankruptcy left and right. Sies Marjan, another popular New York-based brand, also completely ceased business operations this year.