Cushnie, a Fashion Label That Broke Barriers, Is Closing

From the early days of the pandemic, Carly Cushnie was worried.

“It’s at a point now where everyone is really freaking out,” Ms. Cushnie, a 36-year-old designer, told The New York Times this spring. “I’m definitely concerned about getting through it. I haven’t even thought about September.”

Ms. Cushnie and her company made it through September, and nearly through October. But on Thursday, she announced the closure of her 12-year-old company, one of the most prominent Black-owned brands in American fashion.

“The brand was just not going to be able to recover,” Ms. Cushnie said in an interview Wednesday night. “It just wasn’t possible, with the lost revenue, to try and generate enough sales to keep the business going.”

For its first decade, Ms. Cushnie had a design partner, her Parsons classmate Michelle Ochs, and their label was known as Cushnie et Ochs. But when Ms. Ochs left the formerly investor-backed company in 2018 — a surprisingly high-profile departure in which the chief executive also left — the name was changed, and Ms. Cushnie took over as both creative director and chief executive.

The Cushnie customer was an affluent woman (most dresses ranged from about $500 to $1,700) who wanted to feel sexy without looking as if she was trying too hard to be sexy. The dresses were both slinky and structured — body-conscious, but more Newport Beach bodycon than Las Vegas bodycon. Earlier this summer, Ms. Cushnie also created a more affordable line of dresses in collaboration with Target.

But she also referred to the difficulties she had faced as a Black woman in fashion, “having to fight much harder than my male peers to be afforded the same opportunities.”

Source Article