Controversy Around Aussie Fashion Designer Kit Willow’s Departure From Own Label

Yet another Australian fashion talent—following on the heels of Collette Dinnigan, Lisa Ho and the shift of Sass and Bide’s directors—has exited the scene, with news that acclaimed designer and jewel in Australia’s fashion landscape Kit Willow Podgornik has departed from her eponymous label. 

On Thursday, a statement to Fairfax by The Apparel Group – owner of Kit Willow and Saba, among others – announced that Ms Podgornik “is no longer a part of Willow or The Apparel Group.” However, Kit Willow Podgornik’s exit from her own namesake label has been suspected as a decidedly less-than-amicable one. On Friday, The Sydney Morning Herald claimed that the designer was “dismissed in a horrible way” by The Apparel Group, who stated, ‘‘It’s business as usual and, at this point in time, there’s nothing further to say.”

Since the news of Kit Willow’s departure, SMH received statements on Saturday from the designer, confirming the unfriendly split from her own label: “I am heart-broken. My negotiations with them broke down and now we are trying to arrange a mediation,” Ms Podgornik told SMH. “My employment was terminated without my consent. I was not a consultant for the label, I was a shareholder, director and creative director,” said Podgornik, who has reportedly sought legal action over her termination. “. . . it is unthinkable to me to not be associated in any way with the label which bears my name.”

Partners in Aussie fashion crime, Sass and Bide, among others, have rallied to support Kit Willow Podgornik and this shocking news, and unconfirmed justification behind Podgornik’s dismissal. Sass and Bide originally posted a note on instagram saying “There will only ever be one Willow and the heart of that beautiful brand lives inside Kit Willow Podgornik”, which has since been deleted and replaced with the following ode to the designer.

Via SMH.

Title image by Bryan Bedder via Getty.