Stephen Ross, The Related Companies chairman already facing boycotts of his gyms Equinox and SoulCycle, is facing flak on another front following his hosting of a Trump fundraiser in the Hamptons.
Ross serves on the board of The Shed at Hudson Yards, a major New York Fashion Week venue that will host dozens of NYFW events in September, and the designers are beginning to drop.
Major fashion label Rag & Bone has pulled out of the venue following news of Ross’s involvement with the Trump fundraiser, and designer Prabal Gurung says he will no longer be considering a show at Hudson Yards’ The Vessel.
WWD reports: “Other designers, including Humberto Leon and Dana Lorenz, have also expressed outrage toward Ross’ fundraiser. Lorenz, who runs the jewelry label Fallon, took aim at Ross’ wife, fellow jewelry designer Kara Ross, who holds a seat on the Council of Fashion Designers of America board. Lorenz posted a formal letter to CFDA chairman Tom Ford and chief executive officer Steven Kolb on her Instagram account, canceling her membership to the organization.”
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Dear Mr. Ford, Mr. Kolb, members and board of the CFDA, Effective immediately, I regretfully but with great certainty, cancel my membership to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. After many years of membership I will no longer participate if a woman that funds the current administration remains on the board. I will no longer be a part of what seems to be allowing a pay for play, money over merit arrangement with someone that clearly wants to advance an agenda that is hurting many businesses large and small with this trade war. I do not feel her views speak for me as a member and I will not allow her to make decisions on my behalf. I thought about this decision well, and although I appreciated support in the beginnings of my career, I no longer feel the membership represents me. I will fondly remember hearing I was nominated for a CFDA Award, I will gratefully remember my time as a CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund nominee, and I will always be thankful for your ear, Steven. However, after emailing you about concerns as to the board seat of Mrs. Ross I was met with a response that felt very much like the pacifying public statements from SoulCycle and Equinox. I was told “not our problem” and to focus my energies elsewhere. So I will. The annual membership dues and future high priced tickets to awards will be spent fighting what this administration is destroying, specifically equal rights and climate change. Yesterday, while Mrs. Ross was putting finishing touches on her Trump fundraiser, I was making sure my sobbing housekeeper had her entire family’s documents in order, a woman with 3 years citizenship living in fear. It is not enough to post rainbows on your Instagram feed. Do something. As a side note, the Fashion Fund is irrelevant unless it is entirely made up of sustainable designers. FALLON JEWELRY
Seven other designers with show locations not yet disclosed told the Daily Beast they won’t be using The Shed: Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Zimmermann, Carolina Herrera, R13, Marina Moscone, and Collina Strada.
And now City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is the first board member of The Shed to speak out against Ross, in a statement to the Daily Beast.
Said Johnson: “It is disappointing to see Stephen Ross support Donald Trump, who clearly does not share New York values and every day demonstrates his efforts to divide our country. I urge Stephen Ross to reconsider his support for this cruel, racist, and misogynistic president. There are a lot of Trump supporters in this town on a lot of boards. This is America and they can support who they want. But they should know that many people in this city are horrified at this administration, and they should expect to hear from these people. New Yorkers aren’t shy about expressing their disgust, and it’s one of our best qualities.”