We all know the Project Runway saying, “in fashion, one day you’re in and the next, you’re out.” Though this adage is most commonly used in regard to trends, there have been several cases of brands and retailers that seem to be living up to it as well. I am taking a look at what happened to some that seem to have simply disappeared.
One of what I consider to be the most elegant brands, I was very sad to learn of the closing of Nicole Farhi. The name founder, along with Stephen Marks (founder of French Connection), first started the brand in 1982. Sadly, due to falling sales and declining margins they started to experience serious financial difficulty. As one retail consultant put it, “It’s one of those businesses that passed its sell-by date. It failed to reinvent itself.” As a result, the brand collapsed into administration (an insolvency procedure) in 2013 and the designer has decided to leave the fashion world to pursue sculpting.
Though not a fan myself, the folding of Australian brand Ksubi was nonetheless very sad. Gareth Moody, Dan Single, George Garrow, Paul Wilson, and Oscar Wright cofounded the cult brand in 1999 under the name Tsubi. The brand was then bough by the clothing manufacturer Bleach, after which it started to have trouble staying afloat, including the departure of three of its original founders. In December of 2013, it was placed in receivership (a form of bankruptcy). However, I recently learned that they are trying to make a comeback this fall after this “hiatus.”
The close of the visionary fashion house of Christian Lacroix was heartbreaking. Lacroix first opened his “haute couture” house in 1987. Slowly, after changes in ownership and attempts at restructuring, the brand started to experience serious difficulties. Lacroix himself admitted, “there was a definite discrepancy between his artistic vision and financial reality.” Despite attempts to rescue and revive the brand, the designer decided to close.
As one of my friends’ and my favorite stores in middle school and appearing to do very well, the closing of JasmineSola came as a complete shock. Italian immigrant Luciano Manganella opened the first of what was to become a fashion icon in 1970 in our very own Harvard Square. Though there were rumors that he had been financially irresponsible, the true reason for closing was due to no fault of his own. In 2005, New York & Company purchased the franchise from it’s founder, who they fired and sued just one year later. These disappointments were quickly followed by New York & Co.’s decision to close all JasmineSola locations so that they could explore their opportunities.
One of the pioneers of “five-and-dime” stores, the closing of the beloved Woolworth’s chain was a sad event. Frank Winfield Woolworth created the company with the help of his former boss William Moore and (after a false start) they opened their first successful store in Lancaster, PA in 1879. The brand was able to expand quickly to approximately 3,000 stores globally. However, after its quick rise, it then experienced a steady fall, starting in the 1990’s in the Americans and spreading to the UK in the early 2000s. In early 2009, the company declared itself insolvent.