Since his Fashion Week debut in 2003, Jonathan Saunders has been known for his expert use of prints, and we have come to look forward to each new collection. However, the designer announced the closing of his eponymous brand, citing personal reasons.
“It is not a decision that I take lightly and I am eternally grateful to my team for all their hard work and dedication,” said Saunders, in an interview with WWD.
Saunders’ new business partner and investor Eiesha Bharti Pasricha helped the designer with this amicable discontinuation. The designer has a clear respect for this new partner and the support gained from the partnership shaped his ability to come to terms with this new turn in his journey.
“Eiesha has not only been a fantastic partner over the last year but an incredible support and we remain close,” he began. “I am thankful for all of the friends that I have across the industry, and I look forward to working with everyone again soon on future creative projects.”
So even though the Jonathan Saunders brand is coming to a close, we can expect to see much more of the designer in the future. With his past work with top brands like Alexander McQueen and Emilio Pucci, it is easy to see Saunders has established a bright name for himself in the print and style industry. His expertise with creating prints is something the fashion world shouldn’t have to be without, so as long as Saunders continues to work in this field, the industry will be better off.
The decline of his brand appears to stem back from Saunders’ last show this past September, which took place in King’s Cross, within a large tent. The show was an all-out extravaganza, and certainly didn’t hold back on expenses. The clothes were exceptional, but unfortunately the business received following the show was not as beneficial to the brand as everyone would have hoped. With great designs in this show, it just serves as an example that even the greatest minds in the fashion industry might not make it as a brand, if the public isn’t able or won’t spend the money to support the designs.
He had found a following of some elite businesswomen, with whom he made close and personal relationships, such as Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton, and it is clear why the designer would have accepted on an investor in an attempt to continue on in his business venture. His downfall, however, could be pinned to his youth and eager mind, without the level of business expertise others who have been in the industry longer have. This isn’t to say young designers can’t create a lasting brand (think Alexander McQueen, who began his eponymous brand at 23!), but it is to say that it is a difficult feat.
Pasricha herself expressed her own adoration for the designer, and brought a new degree of personalization to his business departure. “I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting one of the most talented British designers of our times,” she told WWD. “Our decision to part ways was not easy and I wish Jonathan every success in the future.”
There was no mal-intent from either party, as the separation and subsequent closing of the business was difficult for both parties, and seems to be in the best interest for both. Since Saunders is able to keep his name and designs attributed to it, there was nothing majorly lost on either side of the deal.
Having only been named partner and stakeholder this past July, the two have not been in business together for a substantial amount of time. In that time, Rupert Maunsell was hired as the first CEO of Jonathan Saunders, which was meant to be the first of many key hires, in order to promote business growth, along with a relocation in Clerkenwell to supplement the expansion. The overall plan of action here was to help the brand reach the next stages of development with Saunders’ designs and Maunsell facilitating.
Now, however, Saunders can be found collaborating with The Rug Company, a British brand that creates rugs, runners, and cushions. The work he has done so far is beautiful and exactly what we’d expect to see from the designer, and actually has a background as a producer designer, from when he trained in this field at the Glasgow School of Art before finding his way into the fashion industry instead. So whether Saunders finds his niche in interior design or elsewhere, we know we have much more to see from him.
Photos courtesy of Vogue