Anti-Melania Trump fashion designer Zac Posen announced on Friday that he is shutting down his namesake label.
First reported by WWD, the 39-year old designer and former “Project Runway” judge stated he failed to find a buyer or new investors and “ran out of time.”
“The board made a difficult decision,” Posen told WWD. “We were in a sale process and we ran out of time.”
“There was a board vote. We had to make the call,” Posen continued. “My partners and I tried everything possible within our means to find solutions to keep it going. I have been trying to find the right strategic partners at this tough time in retail and in the industry. The clock ran out.”
Vogue also reported on Friday that Posen’s House of Z company had ceased operations and approximately 60 employees were informed they were being let go.
“I’ve been personally trying to find the right partner for some time,” Posen said in an exclusive interview with Vogue. “But time ran out, and the difficult climate out there… it’s not an easy time in our industry.”
Both outlets reported that Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. investment company had been looking to sell off its stake in the label since April. Posen just showed his spring 2020 collection during New York Fashion Week in September, but the company said the items will no longer be shipped.
Posen exploded onto the New York fashion scene in 2001 at 20 years old after dropping out of Central Saint Martins University in London. His first runway shows were one of the hottest tickets of the season, with Melania being one of celebrities in attendance. His designs were favored among celebrities, including Ivanka, who wore a mermaid gown from his pre-fall 2015 collection at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2016.
In 2017, Posen joined a group of fashion designers who have spoken out about their refusal to dress or design clothes for members of the Trump family. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Posen said he had “no current plans to dress” either Melania or Ivanka.
“I’m very upset with the state of affairs right now,” Posen said. “I always try to be optimistic. I think that freedom will prevail. There are issues that are being questioned that are fundamentally upsetting to me—deeply: LGBT rights, immigration, funding for the arts, Planned Parenthood, and women’s rights. These are just issues that are very close to my heart, and I use my own private voice and funds to fight for them and in support of them.”
He continued, “You can’t market or commercialize feminism as an entity. One has to be careful. I aim to be about powerful women in my clothing. It’s important that I support the amazing women that I’m able to work with.”
However, several designers have stepped up and opted to set aside politics in favor of dressing one of the most photographed women in the world. Designers such as Ralph Lauren, Dolce and Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, and Thom Browne have all spoken in favor of dressing the First Lady.
“Melania deserves the respect of any first lady before her. Our role as part of the fashion industry is to promote beauty, inclusiveness, diversity,” Diane von Furstenberg told WWD after the election. “We should each be the best we can be and influence by our example.”
“Yes I would dress Melania. I think she is a beautiful woman who would make any designer’s clothes look great,” Tommy Hilfiger told WWD. “Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”
Following the news, Posen took to the brand’s Instagram to say his final goodbye.
“I want to express my appreciation to our extraordinary team and for all those who have stood by me and the brand,” Posen captioned a group photo of his Zac Posen staff. “I owe a great deal of gratitude for their unwavering support for and dedication to the Company,” he continued. “I am grateful to the team who lent their incomparable talent and commitment along the way. I remain incredibly proud of what we created and hopeful for the future. Love ZP.”
The official Zac Posen website, ZacPosen.com, now leads to an empty domain page.