Carly Cushnie, a designer, is closing her namesake fashion label after only 12 years. This is due to the business challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cushnie first partnered with Michelle Ochs when the brand was called Cushnie et Ochs, but parted ways back in 2018.
Cushnie’s fashion DNA always remained strong. It was a popular label many celebrities tapped for events and dresses. Sadly, she told Vogue that she makes pieces for people to enjoy their lives in and go out. She doesn’t make loungewear. According to her, she doesn’t have the ability to switch so suddenly, and change what her label does. It’s not easy to change a brand’s direction as soon as possible. Whether it’s the price point, style or category, it’s a huge undertaking, and she wasn’t able to accomplish it.
Carly Cushnie’s powerful letter to the fashion industry has started a more significant conversation surrounding the support of the community. This support was lacking from the very beginning.
In her letter, she writes about one of the greatest ironies in the industry. While it profits and caters from women, it has never felt like a community that genuinely supports them. This is most especially true for many women of color. Although she mentions some of her accomplishments, she’s just one individual fighting a much bigger battle for more representation. She said that it would have been better had there been stronger support for women of color in the fashion industry.
Carly Cushnie had the honor of dressing Beyoncé and Michelle Obama. She was also appointed as a CFDA board member, and was one of the first black lady designers to collaborate with Target.
Sure, there’s added support during this time. Though, it would have been nicer if everyone started to support several Black-owned labels clearly over the last few months.
Cushnie closed the message to the fashion community with a positive note. She said that the desire to set a good example for young ladies of color has always been a huge driving force in her career. She is hopeful and confident that the distance she has traveled will help pave a wider path for the upcoming generation of diverse talents.
As one of the few black female fashion designers who achieved this level of success, she is empowered and humbled by the mark she had made.
Wherever her experience takes her, there is no doubt that Cushnie will see more success in the fashion industry. However, many will surely miss her amazing looks on the red carpet and runway. She is one of the only fashion designers who has managed to combine smooth sophistication and sex appeal successfully.
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