Josh Goot for the David Jones Autumn/Winter 2015 Collection Launch at David Jones. Photo: Brendon Thorne; Source: Getty Images for David Jones

The Iconic Australian Fashion Designer Facing Financial Failure

  • Article by Amy Bradney-George
  • February 06, 2015 at 5:30 AM

As models, stylists and assistants raced around backstage for the latest David Jones Autumn/Winter launch, one designer in the department store’s season collection was facing a much bigger challenge. Just days before the David Jones event, Josh Goot’s eponymous label was being put into voluntary administration with Smith Hancock.

At first glance it is hard to imagine how such a successful label could face such dire financial circumstances. In the past 10 years Goot has been called the Australian Alexander Wang and had his designs worn by celebrities all around the world including Miranda Kerr, Kate Bosworth, Lara Bingle and Kim Kardashian. And just a week before the news broke about his label actress Mia Wasikowski wore his design to the AACTA Awards in Sydney.

He’s also had the support of fashion magazines including InStyle, Elle and Vogue Australia (where his partner Christine Centenera is fashion editor), not to mention his partnership with David Jones and two successful flagship stores in Sydney and Melbourne.

But despite all of this, people in the industry have known for a while that Goot has been struggling on the financial side of things. So how has it happened?

In a statement released to local media, Goot cites “well-documented difficult trading conditions in the fashion industry”. After withstanding the economic downturn in 2008 (just three years after launching), the label has also had to deal with increased international competition from online stores and popular overseas high street brands that have opened up stores in Australia.

Alongside these challenges – which affect the entire industry – Goot has stayed true to his goal of producing all of his garments locally. His use of premium fabrics, such as 100% silk, and Australian wool have also added to the financial challenges, although he says it has benefits for the local industry.

“It’s something we believe in, something we stand for and it gives us a future,” he says in an interview with Fairfax Media.

“It’s not as simple as celebrity dressing or having a social media presence. It’s complicated and the realities of the industry and the current climate here make it more challenging but that’s the life we’ve chosen.”

While the revelation about voluntary administration has sent reverberations through the fashion industry, there is still a lot of support and hope surrounding Josh Goot’s company.

In a statement released to local media, Goot says the decision was made “in the best interest of our staff, customers, suppliers and all trade partners”. He also says the ultimate goal is to “restructure the business in order to protect the company’s future”.

Vogue Australia has also reported that it is “business as usual” for his two flagship stores as well as retailers like David Jones. And when the models wearing his designs stepped out on the runway of David Jones’ Autumn/Winter launch, they turned just as many heads as they have in the past. If that’s any indication of things to come, this won’t be the last we see of Josh Goot, voluntary administration or not.

Images (L-R from top): Models wearing Josh Goot for David Jones, credit: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for David Jones (pictures 1 and 3-7); Christine Centenera and Josh Goot, credit: Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for David Jones (picture 2)

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