Small Designers Try to Ride Out Recession

As downturn bites, young designers prepare for worst
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2009 9:43 AM CST
Models watch a run-through before the Duckie Brown 2008 spring/summer show at Fashion Week in New York. Duckie Brown is one of several young labels worried about its future.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – The beginning of the decade seemed like a golden age for ambitious American fashion. New prizes, elaborate sponsorships, and an expanded New York Fashion Week made the early 2000s the age of the young designer. But now stores are reducing their orders or folding entirely, and money is drying up, the New York Times reports. Now, many relatively new fashion labels are preparing for the worst.

"To be honest, we’re writing this whole year off," said Andrew Buckler, whose eponymous label is showing its fall collection in its shop instead of at Fashion Week. It's one of several labels that have lost financing from banks, leading to layoffs, smaller collections, and scaled-down ambitions. But the economics of small-scale high fashion are grim; as one designer said, "We cannot afford to make clothing that people cannot afford to pay for."