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Since the start of the pandemic in March, the fashion industry has been devastated in more ways than one. Cushnie, the beloved fashion brand known for its sleek, demure designs, is the latest victim to succumb to COVID-19’s damaging affects. Today, designer Carly Cushnie announced that she’s been forced to shut down operations for good. In a note released early Thursday morning on Instagram, Cushnie explained that “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 designer first launched Cushnie as Cushnie et Ochs with her former business partner Michelle Ochs in 2008. Cushnie went solo in 2018 when her partner left the company and dropped the “et Ochs” from the name. What followed were more bold, sensual designs, and even more celebrity fans, including Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Priyanka Chopra, Halle Berry, and that Rihanna dress moment. Most recently, Cushnie was tapped to join fellow labels Lisa Marie Fernandez and LoveShackFancy for Target’s Designer Dress Collection, giving Target customers designer threads at an accessible price point.
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In the note, Cushnie lists her other accomplishments, from dressing the aforementioned celebrities to joining the Board of Directors of the CFDA. But she recognized that all of her feats couldn’t insulate her from the fashion industry’s deeply-embedded prejudices against women. “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,” she wrote. Cushnie ended on a hopeful note, implying that while her brand might be shutting down, “my passion for design has never been stronger.” She added: “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.”
Nerisha is the assistant editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty and fashion.
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