Young designers feel cheated by the failed Gen Art.
In the weeks before the group — which supported emerging fashion talent — revealed it was closing its operations, the firm cashed checks and charged credit cards from handfuls of Chicago and New York designers who had purchased booth space for Gen Art-sponsored shopping events set for Thursday and May 19, respectively. And the designers aren’t getting that money back.
“They had to know about this for a long time,” said Chicago designer Kate Coxworth, who paid $550 for booth space she planned to share with a Chicago jewelry designer on Thursday. “My booth fee was cashed on April 22. It’s not like it was months ago. They used our money to float their company for another few weeks.”
It’s estimated that more than 20 Chicago designers lost money after paying to participate in Shop Chicago, an annual or biannual Gen Art shopping event in the city. Coxworth, who produces the line Kate Boggiano, said the event’s application claimed money would be refunded if Shop Chicago was canceled. Coxworth said she e-mailed Ian Gerard, who founded Gen Art with his brother Stefan, about a refund but has not heard back.
Particularly aggravating to Chicago designers was the fact that Gen Art representatives repeatedly called and e-mailed them in late April to encourage participation.
Veronica Martens, a Chicago jewelry designer, posted online earlier this month that after receiving e-mails and phone calls, “I finally caved in and decided to give it a try,” noting Gen Art cashed her check on April 28.
“They obviously knew when they cashed my check that they were closing the doors on the business, and it makes me sick to think that they stole money from me and my fellow indie designers who are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Martens.
The Gerards said on May 5 that Gen Art would close. Ian Gerard Tuesday said Gen Art had no intention of “milking money” from designers, a group Gen Art sought to support. “We needed to appear to the outside world and investors that Gen Art continued to be strong and a viable company for investment,” he said. “If we had started canceling programs and not accepting revenues, we would seal the fate of the company and surely go under.”
That philosophy proved sound when Gen Art skirted earlier financial setbacks, Gerard noted. “If we had done it [canceling events and stopping revenue] the first time we faced economic hardship, we would have gone under back in 2008,” he said. “As soon as we knew that our final deals were not going to materialize, we immediately closed down all receipt of revenues (including ticket sales, membership sales and booth sales),” added Gerard, who said he believed that happened on April 30.
“Everyone involved wanted a different outcome,” he said, adding he and his brother sustained substantial personal losses in the process. “It’s not like we’re walking out with a bag of money.”
Gerard also said that while he can understand the frustration of designers, he would hate for this to tarnish Gen Art’s 16-year effort to support emerging fashion, art and film.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye