Robert James, the men’s fashion designer, is fighting to keep his headquarters at 74 Orchard St. He launched a fundraising drive on GoFundMe, right on the heels of celebrating his 10th anniversary on the Lower East Side.
He’s raised almost $14,000 of $25,000 needed by the end of this month. Here are portions of the appeal for By Robert James, his independently operated, American-made brand:
Just 3 weeks from completing our 10th year of making quality New York Made Menswear and bringing them to market in our own independently owned and operated boutiques we find ourselves like so many others in this space fighting to keep our doors open. We are looking to raise 25K quickly to pay our rental arrears to keep our American Made Brand alive… A walk through Soho shows the carnage of independent retail is on full display. Where mom and pop, as well as vertical designer brands like mine used to mix with the big box, now there is little left but the mass market and fast fashion. Which means shopping in NYC is no different than shopping in any major city the world over. The forces at play in Soho have come to our door as well and account for much of the arrears that jeopardize our business today. You have the power to make a difference! Please help us keep these American artisans in the garment center and this independent retailer alive.
James says his goal isn’t simply to pay the rent for the next month or two. He’s planning to revamp the brand’s e-commerce and marketing to appeal to an audience beyond New York. James is seeking an equity partner to help fund an upgrade. He’s already been selected a a case study for a new e-commerce platform.