END OF AN ERA: Kids Company, the London charity that has long been a favorite of many a British fashion label, is set to close its doors on Wednesday after months of turmoil and the resignation of its chief executive officer Camila Batmanghelidjh, who founded the charity in 1996. The charity, whose aim was to help vulnerable, inner-city children, is closing over claims of financial mismanagement.
Labels including Fendi, Stella McCartney, Mulberry, Folli Follie and Matthew Williamson have all hosted events or collaborated with Kids Company in the past. Last year, Fendi organized an auction of its Peekaboo bags, designed by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jerry Hall and Cara Delevingne, in aid of Kids Company. The event marked the opening of Fendi’s New Bond Street store.
In 2013, Paltrow and Williamson hosted a dinner in London to raise awareness for the charity, while in 2010 Stella McCartney hosted a Fashion’s Night Out event for the organization, showcasing creations by children that Kids Company supported. Folli Follie and Mulberry have both produced designs in collaboration with the organization.
Batmanghelidjh founded Kids Company in 1996, with the aim of supporting children, young people and families in need. Batmanghelidjh, who cuts a striking figure, with her uniform of turbans and caftans in vivid colors, admitted last year she was relying on private donations from celebrities such as J.K. Rowling, Damien Hirst and Coldplay to keep the charity running.
Last week, Kids Company received a 3 million pound, or $4.7 million, rescue package from the British government, on the condition that Batmanghelidjh step down from her ceo role to focus on clinical work and advocacy at the charity. That followed a 4.3 million pound, or $6.7 million, government grant that the charity received in April.
However, according to a BBC and BuzzFeed report earlier this week, Batmanghelidjh used part of the latest round of funding to pay her staff’s wages, going against the conditions of the funding.
Last week, London’s Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into historical allegations of child abuse at the charity.
Batmanghelidjh posted a statement on the charity’s Web site last week, expressing her “deep sense of shock and sadness” at the allegations. She noted that the charity is “cooperating with the police fully. If these allegations are true, I am filled with horror at the thought that someone may have been harmed in our care and we were not aware of it,” she wrote.
Over the last month, Batmanghelidjh’s supporters, including Bella Freud, Laura Bailey, Jemima Khan and McCartney have all spoken out in support of Batmanghelidjh and the charity.
On Wednesday, McCartney commented: “I have nothing but admiration and respect for all the amazing work Camila has done over the years,” while on the same day London’s Mayor Boris Johnson told London’s Evening Standard that the children Kids Company currently helps should be provided with “some kind of safety net,” in the wake of the closure.