A shocking move for British fashion as the designer announces he is bowing out. WGSN reports
Talented British designer Jonathan Saunders has announced that he is resigning from his eponymous fashion label and closing it.
The shocking news revealed this morning, saw Saunders citing ‘personal reasons’ as the justification for shutting his label.
After 12 years at the helm of his company, he announced that the label would close once its S/S16 orders were completed.
He is also parting ways with investor Eiesha Bharti Pasricha who also invests in Roksanda, indicating that the closure maybe also linked to financial issues.
Saunders said: “It is not a decision that I take lightly and I am eternally grateful to my team for all their hard work and dedication.”
“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.”
Saunders appointed Rupert Maunsell as the brand’s first CEO in July, making the announcement all the more surprising.
Maunsell was set to lead a series of key hires across the business in order to execute the strategic growth of the brand following Pasricha’s investment announced in January. In the same month, the label also relocated its studio to new premises in Clerkenwell.
“Our decision to part ways was not easy and I wish Jonathan every success for the future,” said Pasricha, who will continue her business partnership with Serbian designer Roksanda Ilincic.
Saunders is incredibly well respected in fashion circles, having studied at Glasgow School of Art and Central Saint Martins. His label gained traction both at home in the UK and he was seen as flagging the flag for British fashion abroad.
The news comes in the wake of the announcement from Raf Simons that he is leaving Dior and after Alber Elbaz left Lanvin, with both designers blaming the increased pressures of producing so many collections a year, being on Instagram, and being the brand face. But while these designers are leaving big labels, it’s different for Saunders who grew his own label from scratch after working for everyone from Alexander McQueen to Chloe.
“It’s only early days yet, too early to speculate on the shock announcement, but this is definitely not the end of the design road for Saunders. He will be snapped up by another fashion house immediately no doubt,” says Lizzy Bowring, WGSN Head of Catwalks. “Whatever he does next, he is too good a designer to be out of the fashion sphere for long,” adds Bowring.
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