- After 18 years, high-end retailer Opening Ceremony has announced it will be closing all its stores around the world.
- Cofounders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon announced the closing in a series of Instagram posts in which they said this time of “immense change in the way people shop” was a factor in their decision to shutter their retail locations.
- Opening Ceremony now joins Henri Bendel and Barneys New York among the ever-growing list of once-popular stores closing up shop, as retailers seek new ways to exist despite the rise of direct-to-consumer brands and changing consumer tastes.
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One fashion industry pioneer has reached the end of an era.
After 18 years, famed high-end retailer Opening Ceremony – which served as home for many up-and-coming designers, such as Alexander Wang – revealed on Tuesday that it will be closing its doors. The announcement comes on the heels of news that the retailer was sold to New Guards Group, the same company that owns streetwear brand Off-White.
In a series of Instagram posts, Opening Ceremony’s cofounders, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, shared the news with their loyal fans and customers.
“It’s incredibly emotional for us to announce today that we will be closing our Opening Ceremony retail locations sometime in 2020,” the duo wrote. “We’ve made a decision to focus on growing Opening Ceremony collection and brand with our new partners, New Guards Group, and expand the designs of Opening Ceremony.”
The Closing Ceremony
The retailer first opened its doors in 2002 in Lower Manhattan and throughout the years became a place which highlighted some of the most notable emerging designers of the day. It has retail locations in New York, Los Angeles, and Japan – all of which are set to close. The retailer sought to mix high-and-low luxury products in one place, where one could, as noted by Vogue’s Steff Yotka, buy a $US15,000 Rodarte dress or “handmade candlesticks imported from Mexico.“
As reported by Business of Fashion, the store also became a hangout for creatives and artists; industry experts consider it a pioneer in the retail sphere in that it launched exclusive collaborations which went on to inspire the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs.
“We know our decision may surprise you, and it may be interpreted in many different ways,” Lim and Leon continued on Instagram. “Ultimately, in this time of immense change in the way that people shop, we still believe in the power of passionate and unique retail. But we also believe in the necessity for change, reflection, and an opportunity to refresh.”
The production of Opening Ceremony’s in-house line is set to be moved to New Guards Group’s headquarters in Milan. The pair clarified on Instagram that Opening Ceremony will continue to exist only as a brand, not a retailer, though their in-house brand, as reported by Business of Fashion, only makes up less than 25% of their overall revenue. In addition, Lim and Leon will stay on as cocreative directors.
“We are immensely proud of the experience we created through each of our stores,” the cofounders wrote in their most recent Instagram post regarding the matter. “As children of immigrants who grew up in the suburbs, looking through magazines to learn about what was happening in fashion and culture, we feel incredibly lucky to have been able to even start this company.”
Opening Ceremony now joins high-end retailers like Henri Bendel and Barneys New York, which have also closed their doors. Brands and brick-and-mortar retailers alike are dealing with the changing tastes of consumers and the rise of e-commerce as well as direct-to-consumer brands.