Jonathan Saunders closes label
In a shock announcement earlier this month, Jonathan Saunders stated that his eponymous label would be ceasing operations after 12 years in business.
Despite acquiring a financial backer in the form of Eiesha Bharti Pasricha earlier this year, it seems that the move did not come in time to save the company from the financial problems it has been facing over recent seasons.
“It is not a decision that I take lightly and I am eternally grateful to my team for all their hard work and dedication,” said Saunders in a statement. “Eiesha has not only been a fantastic partner over the last year but an incredible support and we remain close. I am very thankful for all of the friends that I have across the industry, and I look forward to working with everyone again soon on future creative projects.”
On a local level, this development is just another step on the road of a rapidly changing London fashion scene. Jonathan Saunders is just the latest name to vanish from the London Fashion Week schedule, joining a growing list of designers that includes Meadham Kirchoff and Marios Schwab.
But when you look at Saunders’ departure as part of the bigger fashion picture, you realise his decision follows a developing pattern within the industry on a global scale. In a year that saw Alber Elbaz leave Lanvin and Raf Simmons part ways with Dior, both to explore different avenues and ambitions, Saunders’ expression of his desire to pursue “other interests” seems to follow a trend. In a world where fashion designers are slaves to the consumer, forced to churn out up to six collections a year, how long can a creative individual really thrive?
Plus, times are hard. Saunders’ wild, luxurious, expensive designs – although incredibly beautiful – are sadly not commercially viable. The test now will be if the designer can focus all that creativity and passion, and reconcile it with something marketable.
Saunders will fulfil all the company’s spring/summer 2016 orders, before closing the doors on his empire.
But fans of the designer need not despair – with a devoted fanbase that includes Sienna Miller, Thandie Newton and Michelle Obama, it seems very unlikely that this will be the last we see of Jonathan Saunders and his highly-acclaimed prints and patterns.
Photo: Ambra Vernuccio