Rumor has it: Meadham Kirchhoff may not doing so well. The London-based brand, which was launched in 2006 and is headed up by Ben Kirchhoff and Edward Meadham, has been a golden child of the British fashion industry for some time now. The Central Saint Martins grads have been granted a series of industry accolades, including the ‘Emerging Talent Ready-to-Wear’ award at the British Fashion Awards in 2010, a 2012 nomination for the British Fashion Award’s inaugural ‘New Establishment’ award, and their inclusion on the shortlist of brands for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund that same year.
The designers, who are known for their feminine designs that are considered and executed in an old fashioned manner, have also been on the receiving end of an array of sponsorships, from the first Fashion East showcase in 2005 to BFC and Topshop’s NEWGEN program. Well, despite such success, it appears that the designers are at a bit of a crossroads in their career (not unlike Creatures of the Wind’s Chris Peters and Shane Gabier pre-Dock Group investment).
According to Style.com, Meadham and Kirchhoff were reached separately for comments on the rumors that their brand (which is stocked by Harvey Nichols, Ikram, and Browns, as well as on Net-a-Porter, among others), was about to go under, and they each had a different take on the situation. The publication wrote, “But both designers agreed on the upshot: Their debts have caught up with them, and there won’t be a Meadham Kirchhoff collection for Fall ’15. Or maybe there will be a collection, but it won’t be shown on a catwalk at London fashion week. They are currently figuring out the right way forward.”
Of the situation, Kirchhoff said: “The way the industry works, you’re driven to do all these grandiose shows, all these things that are incredibly expensive and then one day, the sponsorship runs out. You’re on your own.” As for Meadham, he said: “What we made, we sold. Our problem has always been delivering what stores have ordered. It’s always seemed like, ‘How do we do this? How do we keep up?’”
The thing the designers seem to share with other similarly situated is the lack of support that exists in between the stages of being brand new and being a bit more established. Of the “one-size-fits-all business model had been imposed on him and Meadham,” Kirchoff said: “It does seem like there ought to be some other way of doing things. Is there a way of selling directly to your customers? Can you avoid doing a big catwalk show? Maybe it’s better to just quietly have a store. Or do private orders. I don’t know. At the moment, even thinking about the alternatives seems too exhausting.”
More to come …