After a little more than a year as creative director of Maiyet, Declan Kearney is leaving his post. “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to collaborate creatively with the many talented individuals at Maiyet,” Kearney told WWD. “It is an amazing brand, wrapped around a unique and noble idea, and I wish everyone continued success in the future.” The noble idea Kearney referenced is Maiyet’s founding mission to create a luxury fashion house that works with craftsman in areas of economic and political conflict, like Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, South Sudan and South Africa, and build their businesses.
Maiyet launched in 2011 under the guidance of cofounders Kristy Caylor, who had been president of Band of Outsiders and worked with Gap’s Red campaign, and Paul van Zyl, a South African human rights lawyer who was formerly executive of Nelson Mandela’s and Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and started the International Center for Transitional Justice. Caylor had been acting creative director until the company hired Kearney, whose credentials include design director positions at Alexander Wang and Jason Wu. His mission at Maiyet was to create a strong fashion identity for a brand that was mostly known for its social principles. His first collection for the label was resort 2016. Categories include ready-to-wear, jewelry and accessories. It’s sold at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus in the U.S. and has its own freestanding store on Crosby Street in Manhattan, which opened in 2013, a few months after the company announced a major collaboration with architect David Adjaye on a state-of-the-art factory in Varanasi, India.
“Maiyet has been increasingly shifting to a direct-to-consumer model and has been breaking out of the traditional fashion cycle and calendar — these factors, while positive for the business, contributed to Declan’s move,” said a source close to the company. Indeed, Maiyet has experimented with its show, spending several seasons on the Paris calendar, where it staged runway shows, as well as a short film presentation, before moving to the New York schedule with Kearney’s arrival.