Across the world, e-girls and fashion interns are crying into their discounted Kenzo sweaters and Acne t-shirts, because fashion retailer Opening Ceremony is officially shuttering its retail locations after being acquired by competing retailer Farfetch’s New Guards Group, which it acquired in August 2018 for $675 million.
In a press release obtained by Jezebel, Opening Ceremony co-founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim announced their plans to “close our Opening Ceremony retail locations some time in 2020.” They continue: “We’ve made a decision to focus on growing Opening Ceremony’s collection and brand with our new partners, New Guards Group, and expand the designs of Opening Ceremony.” According to the pair, the fashion industry is undergoing a “time of immense change,” and that in turn, the company must change to meet those needs.
They plan to “step back and evaluate the future” of the brand with owner New Guard Group, which includes also distancing themselves from “multi-brand retail.” It’s unclear at this moment how much this will affect that same multi-brand retail experience through the company’s online store, and the spokespeople for the company did not immediately respond to my request for comment.
Despite its popularity, Opening Ceremony has been embattled by the changing tides of the fashion industry, which now prioritizes the ever-expanding fast-retail market, primarily through Instagram and online stores. In 2018, WWD reported widespread layoffs inside the brand. At the time, Lim claimed the company was trying to “streamline and be smart.” Perhaps those financial problems also led to their recent acquisition by former competitor Farfetch, which has taken control of the Opening Ceremony trademark and intellectual property, as well as plans to control the brand’s in-house production.
Opening Ceremony’s future is as uncertain as the fashion industry itself. In the last few years, brands and retailers like Forever 21, Barneys, Sonia Rykiel, Roberto Cavalli, Diesel, Charlotte Russe, David’s Bridal, J. Mendel, and Nine West have all filed for bankruptcy. Major fashion houses have also experienced high-turnover among legendary creative directors, with Raf Simons exiting Calvin Klein in December 2018 after only two years with the label. Phoebe Philo also stepped down from a landmark run at Céline, while Alber Elbaz’s prompt exit from Lanvin in 2015 has seen the brand fatally slump in sales since.
You can read the entire press release from Opening Ceremony below.