In devastating news from the fashion world, London designer Christopher Kane is set to shut down his namesake label, according to WWD. The beloved brand confirmed the news on Wednesday, announcing that the board will appoint licensed insolvency practitioners to tail off the company’s operations.
“This difficult decision has been reached to give the company sufficient time to implement a rescue plan,” company principals told the outlet. “Key stakeholders have been notified,” they added. “A period of accelerated marketing activity will now follow, with a view to locating potentially interested parties to either refinance the company’s existing debt or, alternatively, locate a purchaser for the business and assets.” In other words, the brand is on the brink of collapse but could be salvaged by a miraculous sale.
British native Kane began his eponymous brand 17 years ago and quickly established himself as an innovator for his offbeat aesthetic. In 2009, Donatella Versace even hired him as the creative director of Versace’s alt-kid diffusion line Versus. By 2013, he had gained large-scale commercial attention, with Kering purchasing the majority stake in the Christopher Kane brand. However, sentiments swirled that the brand may have been in a bad spot, as the company ended up selling its 51 per cent stake back to the designer in 2018, in what was reportedly an “amicable” separation.
In 2019, the designer struck gold with his popular ‘More Joy’ line, which saw collections of ready-to-wear and homewares donning single-word slogans like, “Sex” and “Special.” Notably, the collections mimicked the typeface in Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex, and later designs expanded to include erotic illustrations from the book.
But despite being a beloved brand, Christopher Kane had seemed to drop off radars in recent years, reducing the number of annual collections it produced and even closing its Mount Street flagship store in London’s West End.
What will come of the brand is yet to be known conclusively, but in a time when creative directors are dropping like flies, and the most innovative minds in fashion are struggling with the demands of turning a commercial profit, fears for the industry are rife—and valid. Kane’s madcap approach to high fashion, particularly with his experimental use of leathers, latex and a kind of sexed-up kitsch that truly pushes boundaries, is a catastrophic loss.
Call us optimistic, but we’re desperately hoping for a deep-pocketed investor to see the potential and revive this much-adored brand.