what does it mean to be a fashion label?

After the Mulleavy sisters are nominated for the CFDA award for womenswear designers of the year, The Washingon Post questions whether Rodarte are designers.

by Jack Sunnucks
02 June 2016, 11:35pm

Photography Jason Lloyd Evans

It seems odd that, in an era when fashion brands' profits are pored over endlessly for evidence that a certain shoe is selling, there are some labels out there that just aren't about money. Perhaps this is mostly a London phenomenon - put five years into your own label, live above a kebab shop, and you might get snapped up for an LVMH or Kering job. In America, the home of luxury sportswear, this has long been a no no - brand building is a serious (and lucrative) exercise. Amongst this, the Mulleavy sisters, designers of Rodarte, are an anomaly, shunning New York for a quieter life in Pasadena, and a label that seemingly only makes a few pieces each season for the red carpet and trunk shows. Having again been nominated for the CFDA award for womenswear designers of the year, which they last won in 2009, their label has come under scrutiny from The Washington Post, in an article that asks "Does the fashion brand Rodarte - actually exist?"

The evidence they've compiled is that they don't make any money or have plans to expand. This however is true of a host of young British brands, many of whom don't last the decade that Rodarte have, or have the red carpet or exhibition clout that they carry. "We're looking at clothes that will more or less never get produced," says the LA vintage fashion dealer Cameron Decades, who helped them get their start. This is symptomatic of the industry at large - how many clothes that we see on the runway actually get put into stores? Whatever their sales, what seems evident is that in a world of ever faster fashion, with their two collections a year and reclusive attitude, Rodarte set their own pace. Surely that's something to be admired.

Rodarte autumn/winter 16. Photography Jason Lloyd Evans


Photography Jason Lloyd Evans