Fashion brands reportedly boycott The Shed over Stephen Ross ties

September 4, 2019

Photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The Shed

After news broke last month about the Hamptons fundraiser Related Companies CEO Stephen Ross hosted for President Donald Trump, there were calls to boycott organizations owned by his company. While Equinox, SoulCycle, and David Chang’s Momofuku Restaurant Group separated themselves from Ross to clear the air, some fashion brands have more recently blacklisted Ross-linked entities, including the arts center The Shed at Hudson Yards, which was developed by Related. The New York Post reported this week that Michael Kors, Vera Wang, and the Academy of Art have canceled shows at the venue following the fundraiser fallout in August.

Even before The Shed opened in April, many in the fashion industry speculated it would be home to Fashion Week shows once it was completed. But an employee told the Post that “pretty much all of the events have been canceled at the Shed.”

“We don’t know if there are going to be any fashion events here,” the source said. “I think a lot of the designers didn’t support Stephen Ross being on the board here.”

In the aftermath of the Trump fundraiser blowback, labels Rag & Bone and Prabal Gurung pulled out of Fashion Week shows at Hudson Yards. Gurung said he pulled out of a show planned at the climbable Vessel to “speak out to create transparency and awareness” over Ross’s fundraiser.

But a source told the Post that the Vessel actually turned down Gurung first. “Prabal approached us through a third party and was told that Vessel was not available to him.”

Kara Ross, the wife of Stephen Ross, serves as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Designer Dana Lorenz of Fallon Jewelry canceled her membership from the CDFA, writing in an Instagram post that she will “no longer participate if a woman that funds the current administration remains on the board.”

After Vera Wang pulled out, a representative from the company told the Post the decision was not political. “The Shed was simply one of the many spaces we toured. We saw about 15 spaces and ultimately chose the space that worked for our show specifics.”

According to the Observer, some artists have joined in protesting the venue. Zackary Drucker + A.L. Steiner, a duo that was part of The Shed’s “Open Call” series, removed their work from the exhibition. “It felt extremely difficult to participate in the exhibition,” Steiner told the Observer. “Instead of having a fundraiser for whatever he could have a fundraiser for, he had one for Trump.”

And DJ Thanushka Yakupitiyge gave a performance last month at the Shed wearing t-shirts that read “Decolonize This Place,” as Hyperallergic reported. According to the art blog, the hour-long music set was interrupted by voices of migrants, a clip of the president’s promise to build a border wall, and even Ross bragging about Hudson Yards. “Institutions need to think about their moral obligations,” Yakupitiyge told Hyperallergic.

[Via NY Post]


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