The nonprofit arts center at Hudson Yards, dubbed The Shed, has been shunned by the fashion elite as backlash directed towards the developer, Stephen Ross, over his ties with President Trump. Ross held a fundraiser in the Hamptons for the President’s 2020 campaign on August 9th, and since then customers and vendors have been boycotting his many ventures. As reported by the NY Post, designers who were booked to display their collections at the Manhattan arts center have cancelled abruptly after Ross’ fundraiser. “Pretty much all of the events have been canceled at the Shed,” said one Shed employee. “We don’t know if there are going to be any fashion events here. I think a lot of the designers didn’t support Stephen Ross being on the board here.”
By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
Fern Mallis, who is hailed as award-winning creator of New York Fashion Week, said The Shed is “kind of over.” “If you know people showing at The Shed, please tell me because I don’t know who is,” Mallis said. The first to publically cancel their event at the space, right after news of Ross’ fundraiser, was Rag & Bone. Michael Kors, Vera Wang and the Academy of Art University also all nixed their plans to show their collections at the sleek venue. The only brand who appears to have been brave enough to keep their runway show there, is Helmut Lang. Even it may face backlash for not cancelling. One anti-Trump fashion editor, in describing the Sept. 7th event said, “I’m skipping Helmut — I wouldn’t step foot within The Shed.”
The $475 million arts center, opened in April, is an innovative 200,000-square-foot structure that physically transforms to support artists’ most ambitious ideas, with its moveable outer shell. The Shed in the Bloomberg building, was designed by Lead Architect, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Rockwell Group, as Collaborating Architect. Being suddenly shunned is quite an unexpected twist for the venue. In January, the WWD Fashion News reported that “for years, reports have been circulating that the [New York Fashion Week] shows would take place at The Shed once it was completed.”
Some of the fashion names who cancelled did not readily admit to the reason. A Vera Wang representative denied that the motive was political: “The Shed was simply one of many spaces we toured. We saw about 15 spaces and ultimately chose the space that worked for our show specifics.” Designer Prabal Gurung, on the other hand, proudly declared on August 7th that his New York Fashion Week show would not be held at the Hudson Yards’ Vessel because of Ross’ Trump fundraiser. A source from the Vessel argued to say that it was them who actually didn’t book the designer. “Prabal approached us through a third party and was told that Vessel was not available to him,” said the source.
Ross, 79, a billionaire philanthropist, made his fortune as the chairman and majority owner of The Related Companies, a global real estate development firm which he founded in 1972. He is also, as of 2008, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the Hard Rock football Stadium in Miami Gardens. As per Bloomberg, he has a net worth of 7.7 billion, as of 2019.
A representative for The Shed responded ambiguously to the news saying, “Our objective, in everything we do, is to provide a powerful platform to realize the values we share of equity, diversity, and freedom.”