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Luxury Ready-to-Wear Label Cushnie Is Closing

The Black-owned brand is the latest victim of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Looks from the Cushnie Fall 2019 collection. 

Looks from the Cushnie Fall 2019 collection. 

After 12 years in business, Carly Cushnie is shutting down her namesake label, according to a report by The New York Times. Cushnie cited pandemic-related financial strains as the reason for the closure. 

The designer, who launched the brand right out of Parsons with Michelle Ochs in 2008 under the label Cushnie et Ochs, has been on her own since 2018, when Ochs left the company. In their decade together, they built a business known for its minimalist and sexy aesthetic — a reputation that Cushnie carried on when she went solo. 

The NYT report reveals that the company made it through September, but scraped by in October, leading Cushnie to make the tough decision to cease operations. 

"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," Cushnie wrote in an open letter, which she posted to the brand's Instagram on Thursday morning. 

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Aside from the pandemic, Cushnie said the difficulties she faced as a Black woman in fashion contributed to the struggles of keeping the brand afloat. 

"One of the great ironies of the fashion industry is that while it caters to and profits from women, it has never felt like an industry that supports them," wrote Cushnie, who is of Jamaican descent. "This is especially true for women of color."

Having served as one of the most prominent Black-owned brands in the U.S., Cushnie's absence will certainly be felt, but its journey and accomplishments should continue to be celebrated. 

"As one of the few Black female designers to achieve this level of success, I am both humbled and empowered by the undeniable mark that I have made," Cushnie continued in the letter. "While this past year has been challenging, it has allowed me the time to reflect, reset and realign my goals and my passion for design has never been stronger. I recognize the power of my presence and will continue to fight for the causes and values I believe in, and will always continue to create." 

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